Time Capsules thrown at the Future
Regarding the post before the previous, “The Son Sidequests,” I should probably mention something. The datestamp is wrong. When I came back to WordPress a couple of weeks ago, I found that post in my drafts as an unpublished post from 2010 from just before I moved to Australia, so I just recently published it. It was surreal to find half a thought like that– I’m assuming that because it was an unpublished draft that I meant to do something more with it, but 3 years is a bit too late to try and complete my own thoughts. That post is a unique puzzle piece that I’ve been thinking about lately– probably because the tone that it uses when speaking of my parents is somewhat different from the tone I’d probably use today.
Before I left for South Korea in 2007, my parents were probably more than a little skeptical of my prospects for ever becoming a responsible adult. Even after I returned in 2008, and moved into my own apartment, I think they were still wondering what I would do with my life. At that time, they were vehemently opposed to me going back to Korea to accept a university teaching position.
The interesting thing was that they couldn’t really tell me what I had going for me in Montreal. But that’s fair– because I couldn’t tell you either.
It’s one thing to have friends and family– but the truth of the matter is, the friends and family I had there weren’t the people who were helping me to motivate myself to get anywhere in life. My parents and I had spent so much energy fighting about my future from high school until the completion of my undergrad that really, there was no energy left to say anything more about the subject. Any advice they could give me would be suspect, treated with a handful of salt, so I could never really take advantage of any wisdom that was there because, before 2010, I was convinced after South Korea that I knew at the very least what I didn’t want, even if I didn’t know what I wanted.
And friends? We had a lot of good times. But I suppose the lesson that I’d learned somewhere along up to 2008 was that friends can’t live my life for me. For all my love of them, I had to love myself enough to make my own choices in order to ever find myself in a position to pursue happiness. The majority of my friends were like retired war buddies from the martial arts days of college. We had our worldviews grounded in simple human strength and frailty, but ultimately, meeting over beers in Korean bars and Irish pubs was more about reminiscing or regretting than it was wishing upon stars.
At some point, I think I just felt that I wasn’t getting anywhere.
In brutal retrospect, what prompted me to change my life was boredom.
Once I found myself bored. And I mean. Looking at my life as a whole, and not just feeling bored in a moment or over a couple of days off. Once I looked at myself and realised, “you, sir, look bored,” then there was something that clicked.
It was a lesson that I had learned from South Korea when I broke up with [TinaTuna] and I found myself suddenly alone in a foreign country. It was the lesson that, now that you know what you’re feeling, and what you don’t like about what you’re feeling, you’re only going to feel this more now that you’re self-aware of it. The pink elephant that is your own psychosis will only seem twice as large now that you’re actually staring at it.
So I decided to do things the way I’d done in SK when I stopped being in denial– with an attitude of “nothing to lose.”
Three years down the line, I’m living with [CM] in a basement apartment, with her in med school and me in law school. I can’t say that life is boring anymore. Frankly, there’s no time to be bored, so you might say that we’ve gone the full 180 into another problem– busy-ness (as contrasted with business).
But at the very least, I am truly in the pursuit of happiness.
These thoughts, I remind myself of, because as I fill out clerkship applications, I find myself oddly put on the defensive by some of the essay questions. Some of them have forced me to really question myself. Including one of the most glaringly direct ones: “What is your greatest achievement in life?”
I’m not kidding. That is one of the essay questions for one of the firms.
I’ve come to the conclusion though that it would be wrong to just reminisce. Whatever I put there in that essay, as with life, it needs to be directed at the future, and I need to keep focus on looking forward.