On Sunday, I completed my twenty-fifth extrauteral solar orbit.
What I'd really like to do right now is to write a long retrospective entry about the last twenty or so birthdays of my life (note: I have essentially no life memories before the age of five), discussing the highlights of each year. It would be fun and cathartic and maybe even impressive. But I really don't have the energy for it right now. That's rapidly becoming the theme of this semester, especially with respect to journaling of all kinds. I have major life events from weeks and weeks ago that are still barely detailed in my personal journal because I just haven't had the energy to fill them in.
Sigh, this is one of those many times in my life when there is so much in motion at once that I can't stop to write any of the interesting stuff down, or at least not in a presentable fashion.
But I'll try anyway.
Here are the highlights of the last year:
- I have lost 15 to 25 pounds. I am in much better physical condition, though I still have a long way to go to meet my ideal standards.
- I am now involved in at least three new social circles: body choir, burners, and psytrance. I would estimate that I have at least 20 new significant friendships, and have become at least acquainted with around 200 new people.
- I have given up video games completely. Final Fantasy 12 was my last game; it was a noble endeavour and a strong note to end on, but I finally made the decision that I just don't have enough time left in my life to devote any of it to video games right now.
- I now have a lovely Macbook Pro that has served and continues to serve quite well. I'd rank it as one of the best major purchases of my life. My future self's money well spent.
- About six weeks ago, I picked up a simple native american flute
. Cedar, five holes. I've never played a woodwind, and hadn't played an instrument at all since high school. In under two weeks, I was already tooting and twiddling well enough to be quite pleased with the instrument. I haven't taken lessons, and my playing hasn't really incorporated any rigorous discipline, so I'm not good
, but I'm sure having a lot of fun. It's been a great outlet, and an excellent diversion when I get stuck in midday traffic.
- I have a much stronger grasp on my research, to the point that I know at least half of my thesis topic. Reaching the thesis proposal will definitely require a lot of hard work, but the path is illuminated. I'll admit though, the better I understand the shape of things to come, the more I feel disappointed that I couldn't accomplish something grander or more impressive. Oh well.
- For three months, I was involved with a woman sixteen years older than me. In retrospect, I don't think my approach to the relationship was entirely fair to her, though much of that had to do with the fact that my life had been rapidly changing shape, and I did not have (and continue to fail to have) a clear idea of who I really am, which inevitably made things difficult. She taught me a lot about what my ideological limits are, and how much identity tension I can take in a relationship. The preceding three sentences are cryptic, useless crap, but it's the best I can field in a small space and a short time, so it will have to do.
- For three months, I was a vegan. I learned that vegetarian to vegan is much, much harder than just omnivore to vegetarian alone. I learned a lot about how far I am willing to go to uphold a personal principle, and how to realize when I have actually gone far enough to hinder myself for no useful purpose.
- I understand more clearly who I actually am. I don't think my awareness is much clearer now than it was, say, four years ago. However, given that I spent the previous two years sinking into total confusion, and that the space that this awareness must span is actually quite a bit larger than it used to be, I consider this a substantial accomplishment.
- I am marginally more at peace with the idea of my own eventual death. This is about as well-off as I've been since about five years ago, when I had left organized religion far enough behind me that the concept really started to trouble me. Still a long way to go. Ideally, I will have made substantial progress before I actually do die; that would be nice.
- I have learned to dance. Not with any technical proficiency, mind you: I am still nearly as mortified of legitimate dance forms as I have been for my entire life. My dancing is sloppy, untrained, impulsive, random, leaves little opportunity for synchronizing with others, and unevenly trains my muscle groups. But what I have learned is that it is OK for me to dance, even if sometimes I'm just bouncing or flailing or flowing or vibrating like a fool. It is OK because I have learned that I am dancing for my own sake. I have learned that being on a dance floor does not need to have anything to do with impressing anyone. I have learned that I dance because I have to, because I'll go mad if I'm just sitting back and taking in the music from a distance. I have learned (and last weekend, finally found the words to express) that dancing is listening with your entire body
, and I must
, by my very nature, listen/dance as hard as I fucking can.
- I am no longer severely depressed. It took me much longer than it ought have for me to admit to myself that I was actually suffering, and something needed to change. Ultimately, I never did see a counselor, but I was very close to that point on multiple occasions. Granted, life is not all roses right now, but it doesn't have the malignant grayness that it had for basically all of '05 and '06. I owe foolmonkey
a debt of gratitude on this point (on some of the others too, but especially this one), perhaps more than he realizes.
- There is another major development over the last four months that I have not included on this list because I don't discuss it over unprotected channels, but anyone who knows me well enough can guess what it is.
That brings things pretty much up to date.
Things are very busy this semester since I am once again a TA, and furthermore a TA for an intro course with three recitations to teach, so it's a substantial fixed time commitment. Right now it's looking like an unavoidable 15 hours every week. Add a set of work-intensive but frequently stymied research projects on top of that, and it starts to look pretty unforgiving. My current mantra is "work sucks, but everything else is going great".
That's mostly true. I'll admit there is one other problem: I'm getting kind of tired of being single. However, I have gotten to the point where I am willing to let that work itself out entirely at its own pace. Looking for a relationship has never ended well for me. Besides, I've got enough going on this semester that getting involved with someone would probably resolve in one of three suboptimal ways: a lightweight relationship with very little time commitment, a great deal of frustration for her, or a total meltdown for me.the sun was rising in the eastern sky
just as we set out to the desert's cry
calling, yearning, pulling, home to you