I have been feeling extra philosophical lately. I don’t know whether this is due largely to the amount of time I am spending alone with my thoughts while sitting mindlessly at a computer typing numbers all day while occasionally cursing the fact that studying Russian will never get ME anywhere because I am afraid to speak it. OR, could it be that I (along with a lot of you) am embarking on the year to end all years, the end of my childhood, the end of college, the end of direction, the end of my leash really. And one of those retractable dog leashes that make you think you have leeway but really your great benevolent master (or, not as much benevolent as perpetually worried about your sanity when darting in front of large motor vehicles) sets your limits for you.
I find myself perched at the end of a questionable but probably dangerous meadow full of sheep (people neglect the stampeding capabilities of sheep). I don’t know whether I should fight my way through, knocking the innocent sheep out of the way to get what my education tells me I deserve (greener pastures), or sacrifice what I want to do for the benefit of protecting these sheep from wolves or parasitic wasps, which seems like the right choice but which isn’t at all the American choice. The American choice would be to pump them full of chemicals, fry ’em up and call ’em chicken, but that doesn’t fit into the metaphor as nicely. I am lonely and confused not because I don’t know what I want to do with my life, whether I want to be an assistant dog groomer, a chauffeur for the more successful Amherst graduates, or a monkess (monk?) in Tibet living off of dung beetles and soy beans, but because I still don’t have any sort of grand life mentality. I hesitate to say ideology but that is more what I mean.
I don’t know what I believe in, and since birth I have been skeptical of any sort of organized religion. The first time I heard the name Jesus, it was probably either a swear from my parents or a sassy explanation from my red-haired Polish nanny. Or it may have been the name of a latino boy in my day-care. Who knows. My shot at God’s kingdom never really improved from that point. I don’t need 72 virgins (by the way Islam, you overestimated the ultimate-meaning-of-the-universe number by 30), and I guess I would like to be reincarnated, but I also like to eat beef. And pork. And seafood on Fridays. (If I have a belief at all, it is that the creator(s) put things on this earth to eat each other, and I am not going to abstain from any link of the food chain since I am at the TOP. Unless I’m a monk-woman). I have always felt persecuted for being a nonbeliever–I guess I’m an atheist, but I am not super proud of that. I wish I could follow an ideology, wear some bling advertising my salvation, let everyone know that I’m on the path to righteousness and I don’t give a hoot what you think! But instead I worry what you think, and wish both that I could belong somewhere and that I had some sort of mantra to fall back on when questioning my choices and my mindset. I worry a lot about whether it’s worth it to “invest in myself” so as to have the opportunity to do good later in life. But what if I am preordained to fail? What if I am not as witty as I think (likely)? Then my life will just be a self-serving mess and I definitely wont get into the after-life club! (or, I will be reincarnated as a giant squid or something equally lonely and useless living at the bottom of the ocean with all of the monster-fish)
In April, in an attempt to reassure myself that belief in nothingness was the way to go and that it was my THING, I got a tattoo (ouch!) that says, “All things are so very uncertain, and that’s exactly what makes me feel reassured” (Its from the book, Moominland Minwinter, by Tove Jansson). The sentiment in itself isn’t exactly reassuring. It would be better to read, “All things are so very uncertain, and that’s it”. Because hopping along in the aforementioned meadow humming to myself is fine until I’m homeless. Or until my choice to attend this sometimes unnecessary college has been a waste of my parents money and energy. Or until I realize that though I was pretty smart for my town, I will never be any sort of author or poet or artist or great being. Until I realize that the key to eternity is being great IN life, and that will only happen to a lucky few. Shakespeare lives forever, but the kind old lady across the street doesn’t. I have forgotten her name already and she isn’t even dead yet.
I think I will embrace radicalism, and either take an ode of silence and live out the rest of my life planting flowers and being humble, so as to at least enjoy the 60 years I have left before being extinguished forever (though if you read my last post you know I have the opportunity to be immortalized in the TWITTER ARCHIVES), OR, I will choose to haphazardly embrace the freedom of uncertainty, the freedom to don a sheep’s skin (borrowed of course) and frolic with the herd one day, and dine on his fine shank the next (NOM), all while contemplating the benefits of said “greener pasture”. God may lead his faithful puppy through the park and back again in one piece on a sunny spring day (hopefully the puppy isn’t wearing a burka because it can get pretty hot in parks), but I’m taking the Homeward Bound route to salvation (hopefully not just to death because that was a LONG ASS TRIP). It’s a journey, and I will probably be porcupine-injected in the nose AND I have to spend time with a cat, but it’s more fun than a walk in even the nicest park.
PS: Harrison and I went to the zoo and look what we saw! What’s he got there in his mouth? Is that a cotton tail and 2 hoppity legs?