Friday, April 22, 2011

My mid life crisis came at 20

This one's going to be very short, talking about the subject that I'm about to bring up makes my skin crawl, and makes me really panic more than anything else in my life.

I can not put an exact date on it but when I was about twenty I realized I was going to do die someday.
I realized I would no longer exist.
A friend told me not to worry, since I wouldn't be around to know what not existing was like.
I just can not get it out of my mind.
I can not handle non-existence or the thought of it.
Even writing this now my heart races and my skin crawls.
Nothing helps. I think about living a long prosperous well to do life.
But the thought of my own demise makes me stress so hard I feel the urge to vomit, and my hands shake.

I wanted to put this down to paper to see if it helps. I am not suprised that it does not. It's going to be a long night...


Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Imprint of People fom our Past

I want to start out with a little about myself, but only because it sets the foundations for the point I am trying to make. Because this post might be about my life, but it is more importantly about the influence of others and how it can have unforeseeable consequences.

I am a third year university student studying political science: I have just started my capstone project for political science. For the unfamiliar with the concept, a capstone project in undergraduate studies serves the same purpose as a doctoral dissertation at the post-graduate level, except it is slightly less involved. In addition to my capstone project, I am preparing to take the GRE, the Graduate Record Examination is the national exam required to get into most graduate programs, and looking into investing at as much as another six years of my life into getting a PHD. In addition to my studies I'm an avid follower of domestic and international political discourse. On top of that one of my peculiarities, since everyone has peculiarities, is that when I am alone, driving in the car I like to give fiery speeches full of rhetoric and radical ethos to my imaginary supporters.

Now, what is the point of saying all these things and outing myself as an obsessive political dweeb? Well, the other day I had a moment. It was right about the time when I realized that I was preparing to invest another six years of my life into a discipline that only continues to get more esoteric in thought and is far from viewed as an admirable field of work by most people. I thought to myself, how did I get to this point? What brought me here? After all my life could have taken a much different course. 

When I was younger and up through middle school I always thought I wanted to be a historian. Then when I first got into high school I thought I would study music or mathematics at university. Finally when I got to university I thought I was going to do a double major in Sociology and Religious Studies. Yet my life wound up taking a very different route from what it could have. So I started to look back in my mind to determine how my life got started on this course.

The first exposure I can ever remember having to politically conscious life was when I was a young child, probably in grade school or junior high school. On Sunday mornings most kids get dragged to church or watch cartoons, but being raised in a house that was not particularly religious and only having one television, I was always subjected to watching whatever my father watched on television on Sunday morning. This meant sitting and watching Meet The Press, McLaughlin Group, and Face the Nation (usually all three) as I ate my cinnamon toast crunch or cocoa puffs. I was no political savant, quite the contrary, in fact, I'm not even sure that at the time I understood the nature of the thing I was being exposed to nor the implications of it. None the less, I suppose you could call this the planting of the seed.

Later on, in high school all of this exposure made me a more politically aware teenager than I realized. Then in my sophomore year I was required to take AP Government to fulfill my graduation requirements. The best part is, the teacher was amazing, one of the few teachers in my years as a student that actually inspired students to learn and kept them interested and motivated to work. It was probably the most interesting or second most interesting class I took in my entire high school career. It was this on teacher that spurred my first active participation in politics. It was in that year that I actually started to understand the political environment around, I begin to read books by Chomsky and other contemporary political thinkers, and even went to my first political rally (Operation Cease Fire in Washington D.C. in 2005).

For a long time nothing happened. My political awareness kind of faded into the background as my next two years of high school passed by and other things came to the forefront of my intellectual life. When I got to college, in my first semester I thought I wanted to get my degree in Religious Studies, religion had always been a intellectual curiosity for me since I myself was never very religious. However, in my first semester I took Intro to Religious Studies, not only was the professor awful, but the entire methodology espoused by the department was off putting. In the same semester I took a really amazing International Politics  class with a young professor who was engaging and it really sparked my interest once again and It was at that point that I decided that I wanted to major in political science.

What followed as I completed the major was a series of more or less interesting classes in political science. The professor I had taken my first international politics class left the school after they did not renew his contract, and I was a little hesitant to take any more international politics classes because I was a little afraid that the preceding event had been an aberration. However, in my first semester in my third year at university I took the leap and took another international class, this time with a new professor, who the head of the department swore up and down to me would be just as good or better than the person that he had replaced. He wasn't exaggerating. It was this professor that really got me interested in pursuing Political Science beyond the undergraduate level. His classes were in depth and taught at a level higher than any other class I had taken in my previous year of scholarship. His classes were thought provoking, and required readings some of the most stimulating things that I have ever read.

So here I sit. Now nearing the end of my third year at university, and preparing to spend another six years after my fourth year continuing to broaden my knowledge in the field. What lead me here? The influence of four people; My father, a high school teacher, and two college professors. Interacting with them has left a permanent imprint on my life and lead me that neither any of them  or I could foresee. I have no doubt that many people share a similar story, I just wonder if they ever think about it, reflect, and feel as greatful as I do that people were there to steer them unknowingly toward greatness.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Well, I haven't tapped into this blog is quite some time, however, it's not really surprising since I did my first blog on a whim, and whims tend to be fleeting.

So, here comes a whole heap of woe is me. I'm no where near jaded enough to think that I'm the only person in the world who has ever had problems, but today, I need a place to talk about mine.

I've been sick now for over a month. First, it was the flu, then after that a viral throat infection, and after that it was concerns about my body's hormone levels, and the list goes on. It's just really getting old. I can't even remember what it feels like to feel healthy anymore. I'm tired all the time, even if I sleep adequately. I'm hungry, but when I try to eat I get nauseous. I feel hot, even when it's 30 degrees Fahrenheit outside and I'm not wearing a jacket. I try and make healthy life choices, go to the gym, eat properly, drink enough water etc. but it doesn't seem to help. I'll start feeling good for a day or two and then I'll completely hit a wall, and once again feel terrible.

The worst part of it all is I don't know if I'm actually feeling sick or if I'm just imagining all of these things. I honestly don't know which one would be worse. I've seen a doctor twice since this started. The first one had a bunch of tests but never got back to me with the results even though I called, and he said he would email me with some links to some sort of secure online service that they use to provide test results. I sometimes wonder if I'm just talking myself into feeling crappy, if it's really some sort of psychosis or hypochondria.

To compound things, there is no way I can make time to take care of myself any more than I already am. Under ideal circumstances I could take a week or two off to relax and see a doctor to get things straightened out. However, I'm a 3rd year student at university. My life revolves around education, and I can't afford to miss classes or I risk falling behind to a point where I can no longer catch up.The work keeps piling on as we get nearer to midterms. I realize that a person's health should be the first priority, but education is expensive, and I can't afford to fail courses and have to retake a whole semester.

Even though what I'd like to do is take an incomplete in every one of my classes,  I've decided to do a few things that are less rash. I'm going to take this weekend off to go home to see my folks and my dog and see if that doesn't get my mind off of things or make me feel better. If not, I'm just going to have to bear it until spring break, which is three and a half weeks away, when I can see a doctor and get some real time off.

So here I sit. Staring a hole in the computer. Peering out into the internet. Going on about how awful I feel. Not that I expect sympathy, not that I expect anything, but it's at least nice to think things out and put pen to paper. (or is keystrokes to blog post more appropriate? )


Sunday, November 14, 2010

I've never actually written a blog before. To be quite honest I've always considered blogging to be the realm of emotional teenagers with too much angst who think their lives are terrible when in reality they have it going pretty well and political ideologues who constantly shout so loud about their opinions that most reasonable stop listening. After reading an article for a research paper I was required to write for a class, my attitude shifted. No, I did not have an epiphany. No light shined down upon me from on high, and no radical change occurred in my life. In fact, it was a quite unspectacular moment in all respects.

I do not recall the name of the article, but it was about the changing nature of the written word. More specifically it was about how written self narratives (a fancy word diary) are actually a mechanism to reinforce one's own identity. While I'm not certain that specific argument holds as much water as the author of the article would have liked you to believe, the author defended his/her assertion with a great deal of qualitative research. As part of the author's study he/she went out and interviewed people who had compiled self narratives in both written and/or electronic forms. One of the interviewees made a statement that I had never thought about before, and that was the point of their blog was not that others would read it and would empathize with what she had written. Instead her blog was meant for her as a way to work things out in her own mind. Because putting something down and words was a huge mental forward when compared to simply trying to reason things out in her own mind. That thoughts written once written down have a concreteness that can not be so easily changed or dismissed. Unlike ideas or thoughts the written word is strong and unchangeable. For the young lady being interviewed writing things out and then being able to read them again offered her a sense of clarity she could not gain otherwise. It is in this mindset that I decided to start my own blog to see if it would offer me that same clarity. If it does, then that is wonderful. If it does not, then I have not lost anything but some of my own time. I could not care less if I were the only one in the world that ever read of a word of what I put down here. My ego is not so big as to think that what I have to say matters to anyone else but myself. This is merely for my own edification.