By Joshua Blake
Hi. I can’t recall when I last wrote an entry on this blog, and I’m not intrigued to find out, either.
I start my second-to-last semester of college tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. Yeah, that’s not a typo or anything. My Monday morning’s for college this semester start at 1:00 p.m.
That’ll be the only time in my life where I’ll start my week off in the afternoon – though knowing me, who the hell knows.
I’ve been attempting – and when I say ‘attempting,’ I really mean thinking about how – to go on writing this story I thought of last November.
I can write a song, intricately describing what ails me, but not a story.
It’s a damned nightmare. I have a basic idea down, along with a plot and characters. I think it’s a pretty neat take on the tried tropes of sci-fi dramas – if that even is a category – but I’m stuck.
Why am I stuck? I haven’t got a clue. Apprehension? Depression? Subjugation from my own thoughts? Sounds rather bleak, doesn’t it?
And that’s the thing about the characters in this world I’ve imagined: they’re a reflection of my apprehension, of my depression, of my will to keep fighting on, too.
I don’t understand how to isolate my emotions to focus on driving the narrative. Maybe that’s what makes it so hard for me to know how to continue on with my story.
Or perhaps I dont understand how to channel my emotions into my characters, and that’s why my narrative is progressing at a snail’s pace.
Then there’s the part of me that says “this [my story] is meaningless in the grand scheme of things, like life. But then there’s the other side of my thoughts that say “Yeah, but maybe not.”
Do you see my problem, dear reader? Yes? No?
I believe it’s natural to wonder if what we do in life really equates to anything of substance, of impact – not just in our lives – but others.
Everyone wants to have a role to play in this game called Life. But you can’t always play the role you want – and not only with the way we push 17 and 18-year-olds to get a post-secondary education – but how we push college students into this mindset that their degree is “worth it,” borrowing tens-of-thousands in student loans, only to end up paying them back years after graduation, and maybe not holding a job in the field of their degree anyway.
That’s worth all of the stress of graduating college – especially in America? Every adult I know who’s graduated college and has a job has told me a variant of the phrase “not what I started doing.”
My therapist studied to become an English teacher before finding psychology. Hell, my previous college advisor switched majors four times before sticking with journalism…my current major of the last six-and-a-half years.
Is it wrong to tell teenagers “think of a subject you wanna major in at whatever college, cause that’s gonna be your job one day?”
Of course, for some students this becomes their reality, but just because the S.T.E.M. field pays well, doesn’t mean every major in that field is going to have a S.T.E.M. focused career. It’s not sustainable economically.
People used to bash Liberal Arts majors, but at least those students have some versatility in their skill sets, unlike hyper-focused majors.
Johnny Awesome could know all about bio-engineering, or Quantum Theory, but not a damn thing about landscaping, construction, or writing.
And that’s okay. Not everyone needs to know how to do everything.
But we can’t limit ourselves to one-dimensional task-performers, either. That’s just boring. And more importantly, kind of sad.
I wanna be a good writer one day. I want my writing to impact people – whether that be in a good or bad way.
But I don’t wanna just be “a writer,” or “a journalist.” Those terms are subjective anyway. What kind of journalist and writer do I want to be?
I don’t think I’m supposed to know the answer until I get there. But, I do have a couple of aspirations, that maybe with a pinch of luck – and the good fortune of knowing some people – could get me there.
If I could be a columnist, I’d be content. If I finish my book and get it published, I’d be content. If I could play music out on the side once my career’s goin’, I’d be content.
As long as I have friends and family around me, and live with the love of my life for all of my life, I’ll be happy.
And I think this is the problem with people who feel stuck in this world: they think being content will make them happy.
I was talking to my dad yesterday about physical therapy and we both agreed: I should at least do something for my physical health. Having Cerebral Palsy is a huge detriment to every physical and mental aspect of human life.
But I told him that it’s hard for me to encourage myself to better myself physically.
“Cause it’s work,” he told me.
And while I agreed, there’s more to it than that.
“Yes, but does it matter?” I wondered.
I know my depression plays a role in these “does- this-really-matter” scenarios, but I also think it goes back to this idea of being content equals happiness.
Yeah, if I exercised, I’d feel better – even a little bit mentally. I’d be content, but not happier.
And that’s my point. Happiness doesn’t have a price. Not a tangible price, anyway. Robin Williams was an amazingly talented, funny, charismatic actor. But he was depressed and took his own life, because his happiness couldn’t be bought. Chester Bennington was a talented singer, he took his own life, because his happiness couldn’t be bought with his talent or all of the money he made.
Happiness is a desire based out of necessity.
So much of our focus on life is on physical attributes and assets, that we often forget about the mental side of it. It’s just as – if not even more – important.
If you’re just content with life, how can you ever enjoy it? A long time ago, I wrote about how emotions like happiness are finite – they can’t last indefinitely. So, it’d make more sense to strive towards being content – cause that’s more realistic.
How wrong I was.