When I was in high school I wanted to go to college, but I wasn’t sure if I could. Besides my abusive monster of a step-grandfather, no one I really knew had a university degree. My grandma passed every class, and would have graduated had it not been for one exit exam that she failed because of her dyslexia. When she appealed to the dean to have the test requirement lifted, he told her that she didn’t need a degree to write notes to the milk man. She could have taken another semester to make up for the test, but she left in a rage and never went back.
So, when it was time for me to get to university, there wasn’t a lot of support. I mean, there was massive good will and kindness from all my friends, but a lot of them knew about as much about college as I did. I didn’t really know what was expected of me or have any connections, nor did I have any time for anything but work and school. My only advantage was determination. It’s not a strategy I recommend if it can possibly be avoided, but I was literally willing to die for that degree. I fell asleep while I was driving more times than I care to count, and thank God I only got in 2 non-injury accidents. I used to wake up at green lights all the time. I couldn’t stop. I needed to graduate. I couldn’t give up.
By the end of it all, I felt strangely empty. I wondered for a full year if college was even a thing someone like me should have tried to do. I nearly broke myself for a piece of $120,000 validation. (Don’t worry, it only cost me $40,000, of which I have yet to pay $25,000. Yay capitalism.)
In the long run, the degree has been invaluable to me. I’m able to do fulfilling work that I love in an environment they probably wouldn’t have let me clean toilets in before. All in exchange for four short years of the most horrible, back-breaking work of my life. Don’t get me wrong, the intellectual part was a breeze, I didn’t learn anything that any other apocalyptic incident wouldn’t have taught me. The stress of so much work and so little money wore on me for four years. I stole food, I stayed awake nights, and I slept in my car (running as well as not running.) But in the end, it was worth the sacrifice to have what I have today.
Which leads me to this post. Now that I’m an adult, in a comfortable position, where I can afford to relax and enjoy the journey, why do I constantly find myself turning up the heat? Ben says have two speeds: high and broken. It’s like I nearly killed myself for a normal life, and now that I have something even close to that, I become restless and impatient. I guess everyday routine has a hard time competing with the drama and excitement of life or death. Even if it was just a perceived life or death made mostly of the extremism of my youth.
So, I take my hobbies like this blog, and the Etsy store, and whatever else I get my hands on and I rip myself apart over the details until nothing’s fun anymore, but my life gets to have that old desperate edge I know so well.
Surprisingly, not much gets done this way, although I feel like I’m accomplishing something. And every time I think I’ve got it figured out, that I just need X or Y, it doesn’t actually work that way. Either X or Y happens, and is summarily dismissed as soon as it’s mine, or it’s so ridiculously megalomaniacal that it’s completely impossible, and the fact that they can’t seem to happen in six months or a year makes me frantic for movement.
I have a lot of goals over and above being normal. But I don’t have to sacrifice my whole life in order to achieve those goals. I need something I can just do for the sheer, crazy fuck of it without a success condition. So, I guess that’s this blog again… hopefully it really stays this way this time. I have got to stop taking things so seriously.