hello again, ello. or, ello again? heh.
we got massive amounts of snow here in NJ this morning. well, massive compared to the rest of this winter's precipitation. it's still coming down, in big fluffy clumps. the pine trees are really loaded up, they look gorgeous. I have yet to venture outside. I really should, the horses need hay. but, emotional needs come first for the moment?
and I gotta be honest - that's what I treat these kinds of computer things as. I used to journal a lot but my handwriting's horrible. plus, I lose things. I used to just type journals but then laptops crash and die and such, I'm also really bad at backing things up... to be honest, I don't care much about what I write. I don't put a high (or any) priority on preserving it. but by simply shifting over to some site like this, viola, it's all there for you, should you have a desire to peer back one day. added benefit, maybe something I say might have some positive impact or be of interest to someone else? maybe?
I spent most of yesterday holed up with Jenn in the grad student room, studying biochemistry. I have to say it's one of my favorite things. studying with a good study partner is one of the great joys in life. particularly when you have a good location. and we do: it's the abandoned old grad student lounge, now a largeish empty room with a table and a couple of chairs in the center, and in one corner a large whiteboard that once hung somewhere, now propped against the wall. the door closes and there's no noise at all -we're on the third floor of bartlett, at the top. the ceiling lights are yellow - my favorite. we can go out into the kitchen in the little hallway that leads to the lab. so we can keep icecream in the freezer or microwave mac n cheese to fuel our long nights.
I can think of few things that make me happier, besides being outside and running amok in the woods with my dog or hanging out with horses. we go meticulously through the textbook and my mind is so, so happy. there's nothing better than having another person strongly interested in doing something you also want to do, and then the two of you encouraging each other one. there's nothing better and more energizing and gratifying and exciting than the feeling of getting more done than you could have alone. a lighthearted atmosphere and jokes throughout definitely help.
this isn't something I get to experience often. I find very few people interested in anything I'm interested in, under any circumstances, to any degree - let alone interested enough to actually do things with me. and no matter how hard I try, I can't really bring myself to change in any way. it makes me desperately lonely sometimes, but not enough to sink to engaging in activities that leave me feeling dessicated inside just for company.
I don't enjoy things where you sit on your ass and rot. I can't stand sitting in front of TV, as a spectator sport. maybe if you're watching something to learn or be inspired from - like a good documentary. but shows, they almost physically hurt. my mind is straining desperately to focus on whatever I want to think about at the moment despite the distractions of sight and sound, while I can't escape because this room is where the people are and this is what the people are doing. the tug of war between wanting company and wanting to be social and feeling rude, as though I'm spurning people by rejecting their company - and the really horrendous anguish of being trapped in a space where I cannot keep thinking about something that makes me feel satisfied - ugh.
because I never stop thinking. I have dreams about the questions I ponder during the day. I'm storing everything I learn and putting it in a big pile and then tossing the ideas around with each other, mixing things from all sources, seeing if there are any interesting combinations. that's what makes me feel alive. at all sorts of random moments something will pop up from the back of my mind - aha! - and I write it down and go explore it later. this is life.
and I go where the burning questions are, I can't keep away. sometimes to my great detriment. when a class isn't going anywhere particularly exciting and I have a good grasp of all the basic information it's covering anyway, I've skipped to stay in the library furiously going through papers trying to actually ~apply~ that knowledge into coming up with hypotheses for why and how diseases occur. and then I can't escape it; no matter how hard I try, my mind grabs onto things like a dog with a bone and it just won't let go. I guess this is a public document and not really the same as a private journal, so I'll omit certain details. but suffice it to say that I literally cannot stop thinking about certain things no matter the context or situation and there is no desire stronger than the desire to think. not for sleep, not for food, not for anything...
I am really saddened by the fact that at the end of the day, I'm beat, and I need to go to bed. if I don't I get a sort of exhaustion hangover.
reading through this again I noticed that although I mentioned TV, I neglected that other mainstay of my generation - video games. I especially don't understand video games. if you don't want to sit on your ass and rot, and you would rather be engaged, why on earth would you engage yourself in something on a screen? get moving, go hiking, get fiddling, tinker with bits of machinery, or cut, saw, hammer, paint, sculpt, sew. make things, use the things you make. this screen-world scares and confuses me. I don't understand it, and I feel lost. I watch everyone live in it and I feel like I'm alone.
if you are going to do something on a screen, MAKE IT USEFUL. I've spent hours tweaking R coding, trying to clean up data compiled from clinical trials, trying to answer questions. screen things can be great tools. but I don't understand why anyone would sit in front of one out of choice, for the sake of it, when there's any other possible option. people seem to think life is long enough to waste weeks on stupid buzzfeed articles. the truth is, if you start actually applying yourself, you will have questions flying through your mind faster than you could ever hope to answer if you lived a thousand years. get started, as soon as you can, and hopefully you will be able to contribute as much as you can.
I also don't understand when people go to the gym. I can sort of understand, in a limited context, say for physical therapy or something. but if you want to be able to do things - why not get better by actually doing them? If you want to climb a tree, then climb trees, don't practice by lifting weights or doing pull ups and figuring it'll prepare you the same. and if you're not using a gym to practice for a real activity, then what are you doing it for? I'm not judging, I'm just really confused - I don't understand the payoff of doing work that doesn't accomplish anything.
if you're going to tire yourself out, have it mean something. I like the burn, but why would I waste my energy lifting a useless piece of metal when I could carry haybales into the barn where they need to be? why would I spend even minutes of my life in front of a machine when I could have been mucking out stalls? why would I walk in place on a treadmill when there's a dog that could use some time out and a sunset through the trees to be enjoyed?
and for people saying it's all well and good if you have labor that needs to be done, but not everybody does - I say, doesn't that strike you as a fundamental problem? when we need to invent ways to waste our energy because there's nothing meaningful left for us to exert ourselves doing? I would say, go find some things. there is always something to do. volunteer somewhere. walk shelter dogs. pick up groceries for old people. don't pay a building full of machines for the privilege of wasting your time. put yourself to work doing something that will give you the much better payoff of achievement and satisfaction. and it's free.
I guess this is kind of an open letter to the world... I'm frustrated. and it's true, there are clubs for people to go hiking and things, but I have my animals - I can't go on a trip to walk through the woods with a bunch of people and leave my animals sitting and rotting themselves. what I really wish, is that people enjoyed being outside with animals. so that I could have company being outside with mine, and maybe an extra hand so they could all get a little more exercise.
but people I meet enjoy watching netflix, being drunk, playing video games, going to the gym, or gossiping. and I know maybe three people who I think are ultimately driven by the desire to contribute something to the world. and when it's time to be lighthearted, to spend time with friends and relax and have fun, I don't understand why it all has to occur through technology and screens. that kind of activity makes me feel disconnected, and weirdly less alive.