I’m constantly reminded of the unrelenting flow of time, and me being dragged along for the ride. I commented to a friend the other day how weird it was that I’m checking the mail every day – so mundane and grown-up in a weird way.
My thoughts have been clouded by finance troubles galore (thanks, public service paycheck delays), screaming kids at Questacon and wondering about the meaning of life while listening to a Canadian psychologist’s podcast on the bus. Oh, let’s not forget the continual reminders of actual academic university work rearing its scholastic head with piles of papers, scribbles and books wherever I go. Man, semester hasn’t even started.
But hey, it was my 19th birthday yesterday and I had an excuse to eat decent food for once, so I have that going for me.
Things were kinda just rocking along when out of the blue I got news that an old school friend of mine had passed away in a car accident. Yeah, what the actual fuck?
I’m not one to get emotional with those kinds of things, I’ve seen people (almost) die right in front of me, but that was different. It’s weird because that Canadian psychologist dude brings up the topic of mortality tangentially in his lectures about meaning and purpose in life a lot, so it’s been somewhat on my mind. Regardless, the news threw me totally off guard, and continues to do so if I sit with the thought for too long. I feel uncannily aware of my own mortality…like someone just turned on a timer, which I can hear ticking away in the back of my mind…but I can’t see the damn screen.
So yes mum, don’t worry – I won’t be getting a motorcycle anytime soon.
As youth, we tend to think of the future as this exciting and tantalizing avenue for endless potential. It’s exciting; browsing through courses you could do at uni, fantasizing about crazy PhD projects you could be doing in the future, or totally wild career pathways that don’t even exist yet. So many books to read, questions to ask, problems to solve and social things to be awkward at! It’s a slap in the face when you know someone had that all of that and more yanked away in the blink of an eye.
It feels like I should be doing something more than just calling friends and dwelling on thoughts.
With the acknowledgement of my 19th year of living on this rock just beginning, I suppose I’m also acutely aware of how very little time there is to do anything. I often wonder even if writing, studying pure maths rather than physics, or working at Questacon are all worth my time. With a yawning pit of nihilism on one side of my mind, and a treacherous pursuit of meaning and hard work on the other I think I understand what the Taoist idea of being on the “edge of order and chaos” feels like.
Do I earnestly and somewhat madly apply myself to academic improvement and pursuits, perhaps even to the extent of declining all other aspects of life outright? I tried that for a while last year, but it just gets depressing not talking to people. Perhaps I can learn something from the more relaxed arts students at uni; study just enough to get the right grades and not extend myself whilst enjoying valuable leisurely time with myself and others? To me that just feels like totally wasted potential. I’m sure everyone would say that there is a balance to strike with all of it – but where the hell is it? And specifically, how can I account for that in my personal interests, autodidactism, work, study, research and social life?
The deliberation is ultimately a procrastination though. I know me and my psyche fairly well – and I already know exactly what I’m likely to do. I suppose this part of growing up for me is now not asking whether I can do it, but rather what am I trying to achieve, and what precisely do I need to do to get there? I’ve already found my metaphysical/epistemological groundwork of patterns, and recognising them with mathematics, physics and philosophy (see my taco psychoanalysis blog), but now I’ve got to truly set some concrete goals in stone.
If that Canadian psychologist guy has taught me anything through hours worth of podcasts, I know I’ve gotta start with myself. What do I value, and am I honouring those? I’ve got some ethical principles, but are they good enough, and do I currently stick to them as much as I should? Where am I lacking, and how can I fix them? What am I paying too much attention too, and not enough on? Most importantly, am I speaking and acting my truth every day?
Things to ruminate on.