I’m sitting in the library at school trying to write a paper on The Beat poet Diane Di Prima. However, I’m writing this instead.
I realized a long time ago that I spend my time doing a lot of the things other people want me to do, and not many things that I actually enjoy doing myself. At work, I stare at the clock. I sit in class with an almost ADD-like reverie, doodling in my notebook wondering when I can leave. These aren’t things I enjoy doing, they are simply things I do.
I experience many of those “run out the clock” situations every day, and it makes me feel like I’m wasting my time. As I write this paper I wonder who will even read it, what my purpose for even writing it is. But then again, who will read any of the many things I’ve written? Who will even read this?
I understand that everything happens for a reason and that the decision to go back to school this semester was ultimately my decision, and I also realize this is not an opportunity I should take lightly… However, I can’t help but feel a little trapped in my day to day situation.
At my last job, everyone got weekends off. Friday’s were as consistent as any other day; everyone would always tell me “we made it through another one!” I just thought, is this it…? Is this life…? Do we really all spend our whole lives running out the clock, trying to make it through another week, another day, another hour? Do we really all struggle to make it through the week and live only for those rare moments in which we have the freedom to choose our own lives?
What you’ve gotta understand is, just a year ago I was touring the country. Hopping around from town to town in a little silver punch buggy, playing guitar, sleeping in a tent, rarely showering and gaining notoriety with tractor trailer drivers by seeing how many honks we could get in each state. Life was an adventure. There was something new around every twist and turn. I made memories on that trip that I look back on and still can’t help but cry with laughter at how great things were. The way we went “wherever the wind takes us,” and our naïve innocence which landed us in amazing situations we never could have dreamed of. Every day was an adventure. I woke up every morning thinking “this is a new start.” I went to bed every night knowing it was just the beginning.
That kind of freedom is rare. That kind of freedom I miss.
When I returned from the trip, I tried to carry a lot of that freedom with me. I turned 23 and I thought what now? So I wrote a book. Staying in one place is anything less than exciting, but as long as your mind can still wander you’re always free.
The thing that get’s me is, this whole going back to school thing was sprung on me very last minute. It was like being asked to decide whether or not you wanted to return to prison, meanwhile the cop car sits outside your door pressuring you in, and the prison is disguised as a school with lots of flowers and a pretty cool looking fountain. By the time you have a chance to see through the facade, you’ve already been sold.
That, combined with the fact that I’ve never been able to say no to my grandmother, made this golden opportunity seem like a definite yes. However, even as I was saying yes, I had my doubts. And on the first day of school I cried.
That kind of misery you carry with you. But that kind of misery you forget.
Going to school was never my dream. I admit I’ve learned a lot from it, and it’s helped me grow a lot as a person and has indeed helped me better myself. But I shouldn’t have had to pay for those experiences, and no one should. When I try to think if my school days were worth the debt I accumulated, I can never find the answer. Though I can say I’m closer to the answer now than I was before the semester started. I used to think “I have all this debt and no degree to show for it.” Now that I’m a semester and a half away from my bachelor’s degree I think “I can’t do anything other than social work with a bachelor’s in Psychology anyway, so why am I even here?” I realize now that time is much more valuable than money. And by spending my time trying to force creativity into 8-10 page papers that I have no desire to write, I’m taking away from creativity I do enjoy; writing poems, writing songs, playing guitar, painting. There’s not enough time in the day and I spend nearly all of mine wishing I wasn’t a slave to the man.
So, here I sit. Living someone else’s dream, just like I’ve always done. My heart has never been in it. I’ve never been able to apply myself because it’s not what I enjoy doing.
It’s time to chase my own dreams again.