Monday, January 07, 2008

No Good News, And Some Thoughts On That

If I haven't been blogging a lot here, well, it's because things haven't gone well.

I've never really shaken the infamous New Year's Cold, and I've had a hard time putting myself in the right mindset to do this.

It's an interesting position to be in. I think I blogged before about the whole mind-over-matter thing.

It's a lie, of course. Mind-over-matter is really just you-against-yourself. Or in this case, me against myself. There's no mystical "matter" out there that my inner self is struggling to overcome. It's all just me. The part of me that wants to do something, the part of me that wants something else, the part of me that's afraid of something, the part of me that doesn't want to give something up.

I used to write fiction. Can you imagine a fictional character who circles problems as much as we do in real life? Nobody would respect him. A fictional story about a guy who starts out with goals like the ones I outline in this blog and, years later, is even heavier than he was when he started?

Not exactly Jack Bauer.

I love the jokes about the hyper-competent Jack Bauer. Here's one of my favorites:

Somebody once tried to tell Jack Bauer a knock-knock joke. Jack found out who was there, who he was working for, and where the bomb was.

We laugh, because on some level we understand that even though Jack's competence makes us love him, it also makes him a wee bit unbelievable. None of us are that are that capable. All of us screw up, second guess ourselves, second guess each other, and often spend way more time justifying why whatever we have decided to do is okay than we do trying to convince ourselves to do what would be great.

And it's crazy. The principles for happiness are simple. Eat fewer calories than you burn. Spend fewer dollars than you make. Do more for others than you ask them to do for you.

And even though we all know that, intellectually, there's still this part of us on some level that fights that, that doesn't really believe it, or that, if it believes it, believes that it will take long enough to manifest itself in reality that it wants to get in a few last kicks for before settling in for that long draught that will come before the harvest.

Farmers call this "Eating the seed corn."

And I've been doing it, on and off, for years.

I mean, if we want to extend the metaphor, there are times where I'm digging the seed corn up out of the dirt, just to get another handful.

But I think the "No Good News," in the title may be a little misleading.

Because today I did sit down with a counselor at a college and start going over the plans to get me finished with my degree.

This is not an easy thing for me to do.

I remember college. I remember working two jobs, one in the middle of the night, while I had classes at all hours of the day, including morning and evening classes, as well as volunteer hours at the campus TV station. I remember sleeping in snatched moments here and there, always having to set my alarm for a different time before I'd go to sleep.

The prospect of going back to school as a man in his 30s with a full time job and a family is downright terrifying to me.

But I'm going for it. Because ultimately, I can't just sit here, planting and digging up, planting and digging up, planting and digging up.

It's time to leave some stuff in the ground for a while.

1 comment:

theFrog said...

Wow! That's a huge step - congratulations on making it. I'd say something trite about how great things are never easy, but you already know them. And also, they're trite.

For the other stuff, I can totally and completely relate. TOTALLY. In fact, I could have written this entire post up until the "registering for college" part. While it sucks for you to hit your own obstacles (that you've annoyingly put there yourself), I'm glad it's not just me.