Archive for July, 2008

Mind blogging.

Posted in Uncategorized on July 25, 2008 by shundaroni

I bet you thought I had already abandoned this blog.

Truth be told, I just haven’t been in the writing mood until this moment. Consequently, I have several subjects to broach. This may turn in to a fairly length piece, so don’t forget to stretch before reading.

Topic 1. Progress as a Cyclist

Just under a month ago, I took my first ride in probably a decade. I couldn’t even complete a one mile “down-the-road” test run. Even I’m surprised that I wasn’t completely discouraged.

Now, it’s part of my weekday morning routine to ride no less than three miles just to get the blood pumping. Granted, that’s no great feat–three miles isn’t even a warmup for more advanced riders–but I’m progressing pretty quickly. I’ve begun riding with my friend Bader, and we completed a four mile loop yesterday around Huntington.

The beauty of it is that I don’t get tired anymore. At the end of four miles, I felt like I could go another four, but I didn’t feel like competing with Huntington’s poor road conditions. I look forward to taking a long backroad ride sometime soon.

Topic 2. Lexington bound

The transition from WV to KY has been slow. I still live in Huntington, but I’ve begun the process of relocating. Until I actually force myself to stay down there for a solid week or two, I don’t think I’ll ever really feel like it is my new residence.

More importantly, I have to get myself in the right mindset…I just remembered that I need to pay rent soon. And utilities. And I need to get cable internet. And furniture. And a bed. And so on.

It hasn’t sunk in too deeply, yet. I think that’s clear. So I really need to get on the ball.

Topic 3. Law school on the horizon

The time is nearing for my first stab at Law school. I’m looking forward¬† to seeing what all of the fuss is about. The material itself doesn’t intimidate me–I’ve done some independent reading of different law-related texts and none of it seems outside my scope of understanding. Quite the contrary, in fact. I think I’ll catch on quickly.

The most intimidating part of this upcoming ordeal is simply the transition in to a new social circle and activity pattern. Traditionally, I would dread the change but ultimately adapt well. But I think I’m in a tradition-bucking phase, because I’m really less nervous about this (arguably the biggest change I’ve faced) than I was about coming to undergrad at Marshall. The prospect of trying something new is more thrilling than nerve-racking.

Topic 4. Tradition-bucking phase?

Here is where this blog is going to take a more serious, verbose turn. If you haven’t had a snack in a while, take a break. Load up on carbs to keep that blood pumping…this could be tedious.

It’s no big secret to anyone in my social network (I hate that term…social network) that a big part of who I am involves forrays into many different activities and interests. It seems as if every year heralds in a new hobby. If you have your psychologist pants on, feel free to toss out diagnoses of A.D.D. or Hyperactive Disorder. I really don’t know what is at the root of the behavior, but I’ve always been completely unable to find contentedness with one activity.

During my teenage years, this translated in to a lot of short-lived projects. I went through a “track-and-field” phase; a football phase; a skiboard phase; a web design phase; a graphic design phase; and several other phases that don’t come to mind. I was notorious for burning through hobbies like a bandit. It got to the point where few people took my endeavors seriously–including myself. My interests came and went with equal speed.

Then I hit college, and things changed. The hobbies came as usual, but none of them went. They collected. And collected. And it got to a point where I was finding myself enthralled by multiple things at once, and only a limited amount of time to devote to each. Still, the underlying theme was the same: my desire to experience things–to experience life–could not be satiated. I was simply getting better at finding acitivities with staying-power.

In a traditional sense, we’re all taught that specialization is key. We’re taught to follow our “heart,” so long as that heart points to a stable, singular existence down the road. Without sounding too pretentious here, we’re fed the “White Picket Fence” dream and informed that the path to true happiness is stability and a Lexus. Throw in a healthy family with children who attend the top school, and you’ve got the recipe for success.

And you know what? Tradition is partially right as far as I’m concerned.

I want the stable financial situation. That’s why I’m going to law school.

I want the healthy family. That’s why I’m going to be a husband.

I want the children who attend top schools. That’s why I’m doing both of the above.

But where tradition fails us…where it has failed me…is in the assumption that this life isn’t all we have to live. Tradition operates on the idea that we put in our time here on Earth so as to reap the benefits post mortem. This is the “trial and tribulation,” and we’ll follow it up with everlasting joy. Follow the rules here, and prepare to really live once you die.

Before I go any further, some of you may be thinking, “Oh, here comes another rant from a self-righteous, religion-bashing Atheist.” Had I written this a couple of years ago, you’d be right. But this is different.

My outlook on the afterlife is not quite so well-defined and stubborn as the more vocal non-believers. I don’t pretend to know what awaits me after my death rattle. Maybe nothing. Maybe something. To be honest, it doesn’t much matter.

What I DO know–what doesn’t require speculation–is that I’m here right now, and as a result I feel compelled to maximize the experience.

My personal social rebellion is in it’s larval stage as I write this. The steps I’ve taken toward realizing my potential have been simple, and have not required a lot of personal sacrifice. And I think that’s the way I want to keep it. I’m not interested in going “off the grid.” Building a cabin in the woods with limited human contact sounds terrible. I’m no hermit. I need my mindless entertainment–my blind consumerism. I need my Walmarts; I need my Kroger cards; I need my online social networking and internet forums. These are all part of my experience, and they aren’t detrimental as the pretentious do-nothings would have you believe. They are an integral part of my existence.

They just aren’t enough.

So I take up photography. I take up cycling. I move to a new city to absorb it’s offerings. I leech every ounce of culture and livelihood out of it. I try new things–things I haven’t even considered at this point. And when I’m satisfied that I’ve made the most of it, I’ll move along to the next stage.

Two years ago, if you had told me I would move to Lexington sans-car and plan to commute everywhere via bike or public transportation, I would have laughed at you. But my attitude changed. I decided that I wanted to experience life from a different perspective. And I recommend this approach to everyone. Don’t define yourself by others’ standards of living. Try out a few different approaches. You’ll either find a better way, or come to appreciate the old way more than ever.

It’s a win-win.