Archive for the 'Hopes and Dreams' Category

New Years Resolution

I have never once followed through on a New Years Resolution. This may be due to low willpower or the fact that I’ve never really wanted to follow through on any of them, but I want things to be a little different this year. I want to write every day for one month. It doesn’t need to be January, but I’m going to try to make it January. If I fail I’ll try February. I’ll have 12 shots to do it, so I hope I succeed.

Why do I want to write every day? I was thinking back to my senior year in high school when I went on a trip to Mexico with my AP Spanish class. It was suggested that we keep a journal, but I thought I was above that and I didn’t bother. Now looking back I have some great memories, but I know I must be forgetting things. If I had written things down, even just a list of things I did that day, I could reread it and remember everything that had happened.

I don’t expect any of my months to be terribly interesting, but I want to see if I can. Plus I will be traveling quite a bit this year, so it will be good practice for the future.

I’m not sure if I want to do it in a pen and paper journal (which I am horrible at, I think I type faster than I write at this point) or if I want to blog it or if I want to do it in my iPhone. I may have to find a good journal type application for the iPhone. Or I can just use the notes feature.

Will anyone but me want to read this? No, probably not, but this time I’m not doing it for them, I’m doing it for me, and I think that is why I might actually be able to last longer than a week.

One more resolution, next year I need to go to a real New Years Eve party on 12/31/09. Think I can do it?

Death Cab For Cutie – The New Year

So this is the new year.
And i don’t feel any different.
The clanking of crystal
Explosions off in the distance (in the distance).

So this is the new year
And I have no resolutions
For self assigned penance
For problems with easy solutions

The Paradox of Hedonism

I find that I am always falling victim to the paradox of hedonism. I see a group of people enjoying something so I go out and try that thing, thinking it will make me happy. I don’t end up getting any pleasure from it because I’m not doing the activity for love of it, I’m doing it so it will make me happy.

It’s clearly reflected in the way I look for a relationship. I’ve been looking for a relationship under the assumption that a relationship will make me happy. I’m not sure what it is about the relationship that is supposed to make me happy, but I keep looking for one anyway. I think that’s one of the primary reasons that once I’m in the relationship I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing. Do I even need to be in the relationship?

I’ve never been able to determine what makes a relationship different from other interactions people share. You hook up in a relationship, but you certainly don’t need a relationship to hook up. You go out and spend time together in a relationship, but you don’t need one to do that either. You’re monogamous in a relationship (unless it’s an open relationship, and then I don’t know what the heck that means) but that seems to apply on the physical level much more than on the emotional. Is a relationship a really good friend that you are monogamous with? I don’t really want an answer, I’m just thinking out loud.

So I sat here for 15 minutes thinking about my past relationships, close friendships with the opposite sex, and one night stands. I’m having a hard time figuring out what I was looking for in each instance. I suppose I could think about it forever and never reach a consensus.

It’s time to take a pledge: no trying to meet girls online this summer. No craigslist, no MySpace, no Facebook, no Yahoo Personals, no Stickam. If I’m meeting people it’s going to be in person.

I do not regret the things I’ve done…

So I need a place to compose my thoughts. The irony is that I need to compose my thoughts about writing, by writing, when in truth I don’t like writing very much. I don’t know where this dislike for writing originated from, but as far back as I can remember I had trouble putting my thoughts down on paper. I don’t seem to have a problem with speaking, which befuddles me because that is also personal expression in words. I have a strong grasp on English: my vocabulary is extensive and I have a good handle on grammar and style (I have The Elements of Style on my shelf).

I don’t have any trouble forming an argument or communicating complex ideas. I am able to think analytically and I make powerful connections between different ideas. I say this because it’s true, and I don’t often give myself credit for it. Many of my professors would say the same thing about me and thoroughly enjoy having me as a student. I contribute meaningfully in class and am an active learner. I seek out knowledge regardless of the grade. One professor in particular believes that I am more than capable of acing my papers and seems to have much more confidence in me than I do.

This semester I have been unable to put pen to paper. I don’t know where the source of my mental block comes from, but the inability to start ruins any shot I have of doing well. I love the material and I’ll actively seek out and read literature that it alludes to or that alludes to the work. I can have a conversation about the works, compare and contrast them, and, if we were having a conversation, I would find passages to support my arguments. If there was another person there that wanted to talk about it, I would do it.

Why can’t I do the same thing by myself. Do I need a sounding board? Do I lack the confidence to say anything with certainty, so I say nothing at all? Am I afraid of being wrong? With another person we share the conversation, I give my view and they give theirs. Hopefully my view changes as I learn and see more and I am able to develop a deeper understanding of the work being discussed. When writing a paper, however, I am supporting arguments on my own. Often times I feel that I can’t support the argument that I’m trying to prove, and I get frustrated. The obvious topics seem too simple, because to me they are obvious, and I often assume that proving them in a paper would be stupid. Maybe I try to hard to prove something that can’t be proven?

In any case I feel generally overwhelmed when I have a paper due, for no apparent reason. I know it is due, and I will actively avoid working on it or thinking about it. I spend more time avoiding the paper than it would take to write the paper, and writing the paper isn’t difficult. I don’t have trouble doing the writing, I suffer a strange innate aversion to it. I can’t really describe it, but it is completely debilitating.

This problem isn’t new. It struck me in high school and has raised its ugly head several times since I’ve been in college. So far this semester I have missed two papers, a presentation, have not started on a paper due this week, and have not started a history research paper that will also be due soon. After ruining two weekends in a row with stress (and not doing the papers anyway, and losing countless hours of sleep during the week) I decided that it wasn’t worth it.

“I never liked writing in the first place,” I told myself, “I just thought it would be good to be good at it.” And it’s true. I do desperately want to be able to write papers fluently and with ease. I want the B.A. in English literature because I want to be recognized for my hard work and interest in the field. It was almost within reach, but I can’t seem to do the papers. It reached a point where I had to wonder why I bothered taking the classes if I didn’t want to do the work and I was ruining my ability to enjoy life in the process.

I take the classes because I want to be guided through the works by someone who has read them before and can expose nuances within the text and other background information that I would not pick up on otherwise. It isn’t unreasonable. Honestly it also isn’t unreasonable for them to require that I do outside work to contribute to my understanding, such as writing a paper. The purpose is not only to assess my understanding of the work, but to help me learn more about the work by asking me to support an argument or idea through the text.

I know it isn’t unreasonable. I know why I should do it. I don’t have an issue with that, I simply am not able to complete the task. And often times I have no problem with the consequences. I will accept massive point reductions on papers and hand them in during the last week of class to avoid failing. I will take a C in the class because I didn’t hand in a paper worth 25% of my grade, even though I aced the rest of the course. I know many people would look at me and tell me that I’m insane for wasting an A like that. But the truth is I can’t seem to write the paper by the due date, or sometimes at all.

I don’t know what I’m going to tell my professor at our meeting tomorrow. I know that she doesn’t want me to withdraw or fail the course, and is willing to do everything she can to help me write the papers. The prospect is so promising, but it doesn’t address the larger issue: even with all the leeway in the world I am still going to have trouble with the paper.

Somehow this is going to come out to be about 1250+ words. That’s five pages, double spaced, size 12 font. That’s longer than any of the papers I have due. I put thought into this (although obviously not the same kind of thought that I would put into a paper). It seems like the paper should be so easy (and as I say that the fear creeps over my shoulder again and infects my chest) but I can’t seem to do it.

I’m scared that this extends further into my life than I realize and that it will become a serious issue at a job. I’m afraid that I will have to try to conquer this demon when there is much more on the line than just a grade. I’m afraid, because even with all this anxiety and fear, I have no desire to change. I don’t want to do extra work, I want to coast along and graduate with ease. I want my senior year to be simple and straightforward. I want to get a 4.0, like I know that I can. I don’t see any of that happening if I keep going for the lit degree. My chest tightens when I think about the work and I relax when I think about dropping the classes. If that isn’t a clear indication of how I feel, then I don’t know what is. My biggest fear is that my feelings are wrong and that I’m going to make the wrong choice and regret it for the rest of my life.

I do not regret the things I’ve done, but those I did not do.” – Rory Cochrane

Second Semester Junior Year

It hit me last night that I’m starting the second semester of my junior year in college. Looking back four years lands me in the middle of high school. I though I’d never make it out. I have a blog from June of ’04 which is the oldest blog I can still find online. Reading some of those entries, I see that I am very much still the same person that I was. At the same time, I am so very different from the lonely, scared boy from my past. I think the last four years have been a great period of growth and development. I know more about myself than I did before, and I hope when I look back four years from now, I’ll be able to say the same thing.

A few temporal developments: I got my wisdom teeth pulled (all four) and am on the recovery, I went skiing the weekend before and got strep throat, I now have a head cold, I still owe two papers and a project from last semester, and I am currently missing a roommate that I should have. I’m not really bummed out about the roommate bit. He’s a complete stranger and I’d rather live alone than with a stranger. But I’m not really alone; I have five other suite-mates (and I think one of them has been eating my peanut butter). My old suite-mates are abroad in London (I’m going for spring break) and my old roommate is co-opping from home.

I’ve spruced up this blog a bit. I added a bunch of links to things I read and I started sharing items on Google Reader again. I subscribed to a diverse set of news sites in an attempt to keep up on current events. We’ll see how that works out for me in the coming months. I also started twittering again. I think twitter would be more useful if my friends also used it, but since they don’t, I’ll just keep updating anyway. I should really set some daily and weekly goals for twitter and my blog. Discipline could really help me make this a healthy habit.

I want to start taking photos again. I haven’t posted anything new to Flickr in months and I really feel like I’m wasting my pro account. I wanted to be really artsy with my account and have a cool professional feel, but I don’t think I’m ready to dedicate that kind of time to it. I have a lot of other hobbies and demands on my time. Maybe I’ll try doing the Flickr 365. I think it’ll go alone with disciplining myself.

I should also start using again. I don’t really favorite or use a lot of sites that don’t produce daily content. I just don’t need them. There are a few posts on blogs that I really like and would share with the world though (Wizard School being one of them) so I should actively try to add those.

So far my goals are to blog twice a week, twitter twice a day, Flickr once a day, good news and posts, and read the news every day. On top of that I want to start reading again and spend less time watching TV and movies. I have a lot of books that I never read and I need to get through them. Another goal is to read extracurricular books and write journal entries about them so that I think critically about what I read. And do all my homework! This sounds like a lot of work…

I think I can do it though. Maybe I’ll stop after a week, but I need to work on discipline and following through. This is self-improvement (and screw you Chuck Palahniuk fans who say “Self improvement is masturbation”).

I want to learn to dance!

Since we’ve been working on dancing in the show I’m stage managing (Billy S’s Much Ado About Nothing) I’ve had the desire to learn how to dance. I used to want to be really good at swing, but never put any effort into it. We’re focusing on 1920’s dances like the Charleston and the Lindy Hop. We also went over the waltz. I’m not quite confident enough to dance well in the waltz, nor do I manage that rigid body and good support the man is supposed to have. I suppose if I did more of it I would get better.

These people are crazy awesome. I don’t ever expect to be that good, just to have as much fun as they are. I was just looking through my old old blogs (again) and apparently I liked dancing then too. My life is cyclical, clearly.

Clearly I don’t have enough work

I have lots of free time at work. Enough to read just about anything I want to read. I can chat on AIM and chat with my co-workers. I can even write blog posts, like this one. Reading other people’s blogs inspires me to reflect about my life, and usually some surprising things come out of that reflection. One is that I feel bad reading back through their archives. Like I shouldn’t be reading these personal things they put on the internet for everyone to read. These things they probably wanted read, at least at the time. I personally forget all the things I used to blog about, and if someone were to go back and dredge all those forgotten things to the forefront I might be a little shocked by what I found. I was a different person back then, but the lone reader doesn’t know that. Provided they’ve never met me, or I’ve never met them. Maybe thats why I feel bad. I feel like a stranger riffling through another person’s things. You need to be invited in, offered those things, and then it is okay. So my apologies to Janet. You’ve kept me entertained at work today. Her new stuff is good too, but I read that already.

Sometimes when I’m walking by myself through New York City the song The Only Living Boy in New York pops into my head. I first heard it on the Garden State soundtrack and its been with me ever since. It reminds me of the scene at the opening of Vanilla Sky where Tom Cruise drives into Times Square and he is the only person there. It’s a haunting scene. I feel like I’m the only feeling person in the city. Or at least the only feeling boy. Is that loneliness natural when you’re standing in a crowd? Anyone else ever feel that?

I also feel like I’m from that class of people who are desperately trying to escape what they are and where they came from. It’s not that I don’t like where I came from, I just want to be different. I’m part of that Great Gatsby American Dream. Those people who set out with great expectations and want to someday achieve greatness. It’s a shame. I was having a conversation with a friend. It went something like this:

nick: I suppose if [female] talked about working at camp and called the kids crazy brats and said there was a male camp counselor she was always making eyes with that would be more exciting
friend: did you just make that up in your head?
nick: she does work at a day camp. and after camp if she went to a coffee shop or other place like that and had haughty conversations with the staff, or read a self-important novel and acted like everyone should wish they were her and were getting as much out of this novel as she was. then I’d really want to be there and wish I was reading the same novel and getting the same goodness out of it.
friend: but i would say that a person like that needs to get over themselves
nick: but by the time I get around to [reading] it she has moved onto the latest new thing and can’t be bothered to talk about that novel because it is old hat.
friend: so if you meet her, and shes not like that, is she immediately not interesting? could you give her a chance to be interesting in another way that maybe you don’t realize that you like?
nick: she is interesting in other ways, and I think a different guy would really appreciate those things, but I find that I fake interest in those areas. like the [interests of the female]. they aren’t me. but I [really] should give her more of a shot.
nick: I think I project the things I want to be onto the people I’d like to date. so if I want to be well read, they should be well read; if I want to be an artist, they should be an artist;
friend: i cant disagree with that
nick: if I want to be exciting and be part of the upper crust, they should already be those things. I want to envy their lifestyle so much that I become it.
friend: i think youre right about that.
nick: I’m right? that’s nice.

I’m not entirely sure what this says about me, but I’m working on finding out.

I’ve been watching a lot of CSI, phrases like occipital lobe keep popping into my head. Ever wonder where your mind goes when you aren’t watching it? I was walking in the rain on Sunday and as I drew near my dorm the phrase “Pirates of Penzance” popped into my head. I don’t know where from or why. It wasn’t until I had ridden up the elevator and gone into my room that I realized how odd that was. Where do these things come from?

It seems once a month I get the urge to write

I have short hair, so recognize

At least write publicly. I like to write e-mails. I think I’d write letters if my penmanship was better (and I had someone to write to). I never really fashioned myself a writer. Sure, I wrote in High School, but who didn’t? Nothing I wrote was particularly memorable or meaningful, and so in my past it will stay. Today I am a reader, not really a writer. I don’t think you can be a writer without also being a reader, but being a reader requires no extra effort. Of course, writing after you read is a great way to sort out your thoughts and gleam some deeper meaning from the literary work. I don’t write enough in that respect. I don’t write for me, and maybe that is where I fall short. I write for others, like I do so many things for others. What do I do for me?

Which truly is an appropriate question (insert :, ;, or , accordingly) what do I do solely for me? Solely for my personal edification? I think I use big words, or if not big, at least words packed with meaning. I use proper spelling and, to the best of my ability, grammar. I try to keep up to date with current events so I don’t feel left out. I watch TV, not real on-right-this-second TV, but TV shows. Like CSI. I try to escape.

I’d like to be a writer. I’d like to give back, make my mark, open myself up to criticism and improve. Take a chance to suck royally. But I don’t, or at least I haven’t so far. Maybe I’ll sit down this weekend and write something. Saying this just gives me something else to avoid. I try my hardest to avoid the things I have to do. I’m just setting myself up for failure. Maybe writing isn’t something you can schedule, you just have to let it happen when the feeling comes to you. I haven’t felt that feeling in years.

And all of a sudden the urge to write here has left me. I should have told a story, stayed in the moment, but that all encompassing buzz is gone from my head, and anything I write now will be littered with poorly chosen words and….I lost my train of thought. I’ll meet you all back at the station, hopefully the next train pulls in soon. I don’t care where to, I just need to be on one.


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