Friday, July 5, 2013

Midsummer Crisis

Every summer, I get discontent when I pass the halfway point. I look at what I've done, and it feels like nothing. I begin to question myself: my entire reason for being, my purpose in life. During the school year there is not enough time, and I think that once summer starts I'll be fantastically productive. Then summer comes and...I'm not.

This year, my usual existential crisis is compounded by college essays. I've gotten started relatively early, and a good thing, because most of my first drafts are a heap of ideas that will need a while to get kicked into shape. Oh, yeah, and I still don't have a job.

When I start feeling like this (that is, a complete hack whose future is bleak and whose soul is gray), drastic measures are not necessary. Here is my prescription for myself:

0. Lock the door

I am really, really introverted, and when I am in a bad mood the thought of there being any possibility of someone else bothering me, imposing their presence on me, and worst of all, talking, causes me intense anxiety. Locking a door is a powerful act. It delineates my territory, it gives me control over my physical and, by proxy, mental and emotional, space.

1. Talk to Marcus

No one can stop you from being happy "if you hold to this, expecting nothing, fearing nothing, but satisfied with your present activity according to nature, and with heroic truth in every word and sound you utter" (20).

Focus: "every moment think steadily...do what you have in hand with perfect and simple dignity...and...give yourself relief from all other thoughts" (11).

One thing at a time.

Look at the stars to purge the earth from your mind.

2. Choose a few simple, concrete things to finish by Monday

For me:
-read Augustus, by Anthony Everitt
-finish the June 2011 issue of Scientific American
-catch up on Goodreads reviews

3. Listen to yourself

From September 2011: Immer Wenn Ihr Traurig Seid.

"The Day is Done"

-by William Wadsworth Longfellow

The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.

I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me,
That my soul cannot resist:

A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.

Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.

Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
Through the corridors of Time.

For, like strains of martial music,
Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life's endless toil and endeavour;
And to-night I long for rest.

Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start;

Who, through long days of labour,
And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
Of wonderful melodies.

Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.

Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
The beauty of thy voice.

And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.

4. Listen to music

Brich Aus - Oomph!

5. Get off the computer already

As you can see below, this blog was published (as I type these words, "will be published") at 0046. In other words, so late it's early, and certainly not healthy.

Good morning? Good night. So we hope.

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