|the soapbox @ benturner.com|
"Roots and Reintegration", an Essay
I decided to quit working until I graduate. It's probably one of the best choices I've ever made.
I've been working on web sites for other people and companies basically ever since I started going to the University of Texas. All throughout my years here, I've been putting studies second to work. I still managed to learn a lot through my classes, and also through working, but it wasn't exactly harmonious. It grinds and grinds, you in between the two gears. The pressure builds, the key joints begin to show stressline fractures, the whole contraption reaches a critical point where everything is about to fall apart.
I'm sure this will be viewed as overdramatization by those who have experienced more in life than I have, and who have been working for many, many years. Spoiled, irresponsible, lazy brat. But the truth is, it's not as though I haven't worked hard. Most all of what I have, I've gotten on my own now. And indeed, just about everything I've learned, I've learned on my own. All I needed was encouragement.
So spare me the reflexive critiques of my character when I say that I needed a break from it all.
I've gradually lost touch with all that made me strong in the first place. All the things I'd build up and enjoyed to watch as they grew, I lost contact with when I continually had to get this page or that object working for someone. I'd reduced my life basically to just working. While that is probably what the future will be, this is a time in my life when I'm supposed to have many things going on in my life so I can experience what it is to truly live and desire, presumably so that when I start my career, I'll know what I want to do in the world, and I'll know what I want to strive for and invest my money in.
For god's sake, where have I really been all this time? It's like I was another person. A cold, shut-in person. The last year has driven much of who I am out of me. Various situations and events have caused that, but the end result was that I was extremely unhappy.
I am pleased with myself that I was able to recognize what was wrong with me, and to not accept the life I was living as a necessity to where I wanted to go in the future. I made the right decision. I see what my brother meant, now.
Most of my friends have not worked during the school year. Yes, they're lucky enough to be supported by their parents, but so am I. But I worked while they enjoyed their lives and went out and did the things that people my age do. I worked because that's what I thought I should do. I still agree with that somewhat, because the insight I've picked up, especially on the last project I completed before I quit, will prove invaluable in the future. I now know many things that I guarantee you 95% of all web designers do not know. But I also recognize that working meant that I sacrificed a lot of myself when I should have been discovering myself more.
So here I am. I feel alive again. Most of all, I feel in control again. Oh, I couldn't explain it to you.
They say that the Greek hero goes through three stages in his life before he can finally be acknowledged as a hero. First comes the stage of separation, in which the hero is brutally removed from his comfortable environment, although usually because he must suffer punishment for a bad deed he's done. The second stage is isolation, where he lives in a harsh, difficult world with no past comforts to aid him. He must endure the most rigorous of hardships during this period in order to survive. The final stage is reintegration, where he justifies himself and proves to the world that he is ready to be put back into it as a new person, a different person, a man instead of a boy.
So, to overdramatize my life to a point where you feel disgustingly nauseous, I'm positive I'm experiencing this cycle, one of many smaller ones I'll encounter inside a bigger one in my life. I'm back, and I'm ready to do what made me so fucking good in the first place again. I'm going to learn more, experience more, and enjoy my fucking life more. If anything for you, I'll be more productive, and I'll have time to redo parts of this site that are horribly out of date and crusty and old. One thing I need to do is create an impressive-looking portfolio. As far as those things go, Lance Arthur has one of the best. He impresses me because throughout all these years, he continues to design for the love of it, and he continues to design WELL.
A whole new world opened up to me last week, and I'm presented with unlimited options as to what to do in the coming months. Namely, I must first graduate in the class of 2000, the first class of the new millennium (that's two "l"s and two "n"s, okay people?), or the last class of the dying old millennium, depending on how you want to view it. There's literally a TON of things I've been wanting to learn and read, but haven't been able to because I've had that pimp, responsibility to others, telling me how So-and-So likes to get off. Right now I'm reading Neal Stephenson's 850 page (approx.) monster, Necronomicon, and I still need to read The Art of Short Selling and A Debt to Pleasure for my girl. Plus, I have a whole mountain of classics books I'm supposed to be reading for class, but many of which I've read bits of in the original language anyway.
After I graduate (yippee), I'm probably going to do something utterly crazy and fun like disappear in Europe for a month or three. Literally disappear. I have gotten a bit tired of living in this world that I've partially created for myself, and partially been thrown into. I would like very much to be invisible to everyone, important to no one, just observing how the rest of the world goes about its life, and trying to fit into it to some degree. I guess, in a way, it's about being someone you usually aren't. I suppose this would be me being thrown into a state of isolation again, as I travel the world...
There is so much I want to do. And now I can do it. This is indeed the Soapbox year of 'Re-Evaluation' (see below). It amazes me how well I can predict what sorts of challenges the next year will bring for me.
This was very hard for me to write. But it felt good. I need a lot of practice; I have not really WRITTEN anything for a very long time now.
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