Tuesday, December 05, 2006

living la vida loca

Sorry, so sorry for the annoying earworm I just planted. But I know I have had lots of times lately when I wondered why I push myself so hard when other people might have been perfectly happy with the life I had before I started working on my degree. And part of me has been thinking, "I can't wait until I'm done with this and can settle down into a normal life again."

The thing is, I hated having a normal life. I gained most of my weight when my life was the most normal, because I was bored and unhappy. I went in, spent my work hours killing time until I could go home, spent my time at home mostly in front of the TV, snacking. Even though I'm stressed and tired a lot of the time, I love my life now. I like being busy. I like having things I'm working toward. I love the days when I come home from my new job and say, "They kept me running today."

I was reminded of this because I interviewed someone last night who is in a similar situation, working and going to school, and I realized how much fun it was to talk to someone else who was doing all this and who was blissfully happy about it all. Sometimes it's hard to remember in the rushing around that this is the life I chose, but this is what I want for myself: To always be working hard, learning lots of new things, to be fully engaged in life instead of spending a lot of time plugged in to the Internet and the television. I had forgotten that, in a sense, and kept thinking that I couldn't wait until this process was over and I could settle down a little. I do want some things in my external situation to be more settled: I want to know where I'll be living and working, I want my finances to be better, etc., but I don't want a boring, easy life. Spending a lot of time killing time made me feel dead.

There are a couple of people that I have been around lately who drive me crazy, much crazier than anything they do merits. I had a little bit of a breakthrough yesterday in figuring out why. They are fact factories -- they can tell you anything about anyone around them: How long they've been at their job, who their relatives are, what kind of cars they drive, where they went to school, etc. They know all these things about people they don't even really know, people they read about in the paper or someone who just lives in their town. They also know what everyone else should do instead of what they're doing now. Listening to them talk made me feel a little insane for some reason. My current theory, and the reason that I think they bother me so much, is that this is what smart people in captivity do. People who are intelligent but don't have any outlet for their brainpower spend a lot of time collecting information, mostly trivial, and displaying it to other people. Maybe they wouldn't be so nosy if they had dreams of their own to pursue. It's kind of painful to see someone stuck in this kind of life, especially a person who has a lot of potential.

I'm reading The Rise of the Creative Class and it's making me think a lot about creativity and the mechanics of it. It's a little weird to see the formulas for what makes a town a creative place, but it makes some sense. I have only read a few chapters so I can't tell you what I think of it yet, but it's a fascinating read.

I have a really full schedule today but of course my brain is still on Eastern time so I woke up too early to really do anything yet. I am going to stop by the office of the person I'm supposed to meet tomorrow while I'm out, so if I'm lucky I can have a whole day in Chicago just for sightseeing and shopping. It's pretty cold here but I figure if I keep moving, I'll stay warmer. And luckily everyone seems pretty practical about hats and gloves and stuff, so I don't feel like a total dork bundling up myself.


1 comment:

  1. Very very perceptive, Jen. You have hit on something important about yourself and have been able to articulate it in a way that captures it for the rest of us - you want to live an interesting life and you know what that looks like for you. Interesting to someone else is different, but what matters is that you've figured it out and are working to get what you want. I'm glad you were reminded of the importance of the things that matter to you and that you have a chance to play a bit in Chicago. Bundled up is the only way to go when it's winter time and you won't look like a dork, even if you feel like one. You are wonderful and adorable and truly inspiring - not dorky at all. Trust me.

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"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07