Ah, Veteran’s Day. A day to honor our nation’s bravest, and for college kids, a day to sleep in and take a day off from school. Except I did not sleep…
Two weeks ago, I wrote a blog called “Potential”. I was sitting at a bar in Harvard, waiting to meet a girl chock-full of the Boston startup scene and girl power. The semester was young, there were parties to be had and people to meet and classes that might just be awesome. It had quotes like,
It’s the freedom that comes with knowing that the semester is ours for the taking, for the shaping, and that we can make of it what we will.
I meant it. Some days feel like that.
Others are the opposite. Others are not as inspiring. Other days I have to fight myself to get out of pajamas, or to do something other than surf the internet for my hour and a half break between classes. Sometimes I get dressed at 5pm to grab a drink with friends, and then go back to bed by midnight. Those days don’t feel like they’re full of potential. They feel like there might be potential somewhere in the world, but it’s far out of my grasp, practically out of the realm of things I can imagine.
And sometimes during the latter days, I land on travel sites, and imagine buying a plane ticket and leaving for two weeks, or dropping all my responsibilities and going into the woods or walking down a beach. Because on those days, it’s the mundane that makes me happy—cleaning the kitchen, making dinner, reading a book—not the things that I’m supposed to be doing, like learning algebra, or preparing to teach recitation. The tasks I crave require simple, repetitive motion and minimal generation of thought.
I don’t know if it’s a good thing to be in ‘potential’ mode all the time. It’s exhilarating. But even when everything goes right, there’s an exhaustion at the end, where you pushed hard and made amazing things happen, and now there’s a lurking knowledge that you have to do it again, but better this time.
I couldn’t stand living in the other world forever, though. I have too much of a drive (maybe it’s competitive) to connect people and form organizations and create frameworks that will lead next year’s students to more opportunities.
When it comes down to it, I guess I’m looking for balance (just like everyone else in the world)—for the fierce satisfaction that comes from constantly producing objects for the world to admire, but also the content of spending a Saturday morning vacuuming, with the knowledge that I’ll do the exact same thing next week.