Monday, September 23, 2013

the same thing your whole life

Not that there’s something wrong with being conservative—and I don’t mean politically, for the record, but just taking things slowly, being careful. Being averse to change. Not trying new things all the damn time.

It can’t all be the “adolescent phase.” You can’t always live for today. Sometimes you should probably assume that tomorrow will not only get here but people will expect that you had fulfilled your responsibilities in the meantime.

But, oh how fun it would be if you could. Honestly, I wanted to write today a response to yesterday. Toe the line, follow the rules, clean up your room, stand up straight, pick up your feet, take it like a man, be nice to your sister, don’t mix beer and wine ever, don’t drive on the railroad tracks…

I keep my room pretty clean, I think I’m pretty nice to my sisters—if you don’t count my snide and sarcastic comments. I don’t mix beer and wine, but that’s just because I don’t like beer—

(There doesn’t seem to be any good reason for that rule, anyway, and I’ve never heard of it outside Groundhog Day.)

—I’m probably too old to start working on my posture, but I think I stand straight enough when I need to, when I’m in front of an audience… Wait, no, that’s not true. I lean on the desk, I lean against the wall—if my classroom had a chalkboard, I’m sure I’d have chalkdust all over my back after every class. I also put my hands in my pockets when I know damn well I am not supposed to do that when I’m teaching. Yes, I’m too casual. I’m sure that’s a shocking revelation.

I don’t pick up my feet, I don’t think. I think I shuffle along at least some of the time. I should probably try driving on the railroad tracks—I have walked on them.

Yeah, I’m not one to suggest holding back, even as much as I hold myself back far too often. In my mind, I see things I like and I want to grab them. I see a girl I like and I get ahead of myself and make myself too nervous to do anything. Give me time to waste and I’ll waste it. Give me too much time to overthink a decision and I will hold back. Not because I should. Not because I want to, but because I’ve run through so many possibilities, I trap myself. It’s the opposite of the spirit of the stairs—

(If you don’t know that one, it’s a great phrase to know. The spirit of the stairs, or in French, l’esprit de l’escalier is a nice label for all the things you realize you should have said when you’re already leaving and it’s too late.)

—I overthink things ahead so there’s even more afterward that I didn’t bother to say. I don’t like anonymous quotations, but this one rings true to me:

Over-thinking ruins you. Ruins the situation, twists things around, makes you worry and just makes everything much worse than it actually is.

I imagine Phil Connors will have some trouble getting on with regular life after the time loop. He’ll probably overthink everything. Or maybe, at least at first, he won’t think anything through at all. He’ll just act and hope for the best; hell, he probably won’t even hope for the best, just that the best will become obvious as he goes. Think about it. He’s used to now being able to just do things, no consequences. He has to actually relearn the idea of consequences. He might quit his job. Let’s hope he’s got some money saved up. Or maybe he’ll keep that job and he’ll be the awesomely philosophical weatherman, and a network will notice him, and he’ll leave Pittsburgh for something bigger. And that will come between him and Rita, if they’re even still together. Though the film has a happy ending, I don’t see it as the “happily ever after” of a fairy tale. Phil and Rita will probably be fine for a while, but will it last? Is Rita really the right girl for Phil? Should Phil even be heading into a long-term relationship after the time loop? I mean, adjusting to regular life after that has got to be about as big an adjustment as coming off drug addiction. He shouldn’t be making any big life-changing decisions. But, he’s going to want to.

And, that’s normal, I suppose. He’s only just figured out how to be in control of his life. He’s just gotten a handle on who he is. Of course he’s going to be making big decisions, directing his new “life” for the better. There will be missteps. There will be mistakes. But, that’s life.

And, that’s a cop out. “That’s life”?

Everything is life. And, I don’t mean that to be profound or anything. It’s just the truth. It isn’t that we need to understand life. It’s that we need to understand life that is good. If we want something—and it’s reasonable to want it—we should go after it. If we love someone, we should tell them. If we need something, we should find a way to get it or a person to give it to us.

I’m tired today. Trying to readjust to a “normal” sleeping schedule again because school gets going for me in a week. And, there’s already work to do. I’ve got debate cases to work on, assignments and lesson plans to put together. I’ve got a book I want to finish before I’m loaded down with reading assignments. I don’t want to think about my recent attempts at life-changing decisions, my missteps, my mistakes. For a while, my adult life was something that worked for the most part. There are sections of it that do quite well to this day. But, the whole—I’m not even sure there is a whole. Just disparate parts, some of which work, some of which I can handle and some I even enjoy. Some, though, are damaged and broken and in need of replacing. But, life isn’t as neat as that. Can’t just replace what doesn’t work and move on. Hell, if it were that simple, it probably wouldn’t be worth anything.

It definitely wouldn’t be worth anything.

By that logic, sometimes, life seems so hard that it must be the most valuable thing around.

And, I suppose it is.

Today’s reason to repeat a day forever: to get my parts in line.

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