I spent some time on saturday in consideration of the various philosophies of life that float around in our culture. I must admit, to my chagrin, that this was brought on by watching the rather lame movie "The Brothers" which is about a bunch of black professionals and their rather lame love lives. It was not a particularly good movie, but it got me thinking about what it means to be a professional and what the best path through this section of life is. The first thing that the movie drove home to me is that I need to drop weight so I can have more energy. This of course wasn't really a product of the film so much as my personal comparison of the energy level neccesary to work hard enough in college to get into a good professional school, party, and still find time for things like basketball, road trips and the like. Clearly my energy level isn't as high as it could be (although it's certainly far from zero, I do find myself pretty sapped at the end of any day that lasts longer than 8-10 hours of concentrated mental labor) and I should remedy that ASAP. I am gambling that the comfort of increased energy and concentration will trump the pain of hunger and lack of the satisfaction that the occasional piece of junkfood can bring.
The next thing that the movie made me reconsider was whether extraneous mental labor during college is even worthwhile. I'm refering to things like reading this book I'm reading about wallstreet and all the rumination and reflection I do in this very journal. On the one hand I do enjoy it and I think that getting in the habit of engaging in intellectual inquiry and mental is probably a good idea, but on the other hand it doesn't seem to be a very popular route to go and it's not really encouraged by many people. In the movies the people who spend their time trying to find new sexual partners and pouring alcohol down their gullets or shoving powder up their noses tend to turn out pretty much as well as those of us who are more prone to a nice quiet evening watching a movie or trying to find someone to talk about current events with. I don't know how far off this is from the truth in life. I have this idea that because you only have one life you should do your damndest to make it special, and this means doing something that no other organism has done before. Contribute something to the ongoing species, don't just be another bolt in the machinery of humanity, be a NEW type of bolt and do something worthwhile if not spectacular. But is that a good point of view to hold in terms of potential happiness? When my father was around and I had direction it worked well enough and though I wasn't particularly HAPPY per se I was at least satisfied. But for the past eight years I've been treading water, going through the motions of an unsatisfying life because I figured that if you run far enough towards the horizon you'll eventually escape the night and discover the sun. But what if the sun's coming up from behind? What if the way to find satisfaction and even success is to slow down and let it catch up with you, instead of plugging away searching for something let the something come to you.
That certainly is the popular view.
Right now I find myself looking towards the future too much and that's not good. First my graduation from this college, then the tedium of grad school, and don't start LIVING till I'm closing in on thirty. That would all be good and well if I was guaranteed anything worthwhile at 30, but the fact of the matter is the reason I find it so hard to concentrate is that I'm not. I'm not even guaranteed to make it to thirty. So maybe I should focus on dropping some pounds, getting some sunshine, finding some damned friends, and letting the academics take care of themselves. After all I could easily PASS all my classes without much in the way of hard work.
Sounds good....but it's not what I WANT.
Oh well, this year is the year before I become 21 and have full legal standing in the eyes of the law (I know that 18 year olds do for everything except alcohol consumption but for me that's like the swimtest at Columbia (yes columbia has a swimtest for you to graduate, no this does not entitle you to chortle.) , you're not a REAL growed-up till you pass it) and I'm going to make some damned changes. I have to. I know I've said this before and I haven't made EVERY change I've promised myself but I have done some. So I WILL make an effort to expand my horizons. I have to.
First step: I've started a food and exercise journal to keep track of what I do in a vague attempt to remember my eating and exercise patterns and make sure that I make progress in this area. I think it should at least wake me up to what I'm doing wrong if not inspire me to do more stuff wrong.
Further steps will be chronicled here. I'd almost stoop to asking for suggestions except I know who reads this and *shudder* I can just imagine Jing's suggestions as to how I should better MY life. Hmm I guess he has helped a bit with the diet thing because I'm queasy now.