It's been a struggle to quit biting my nails long enough to place my fingers properly on the keys for even the shortest bit of writing. It's not only this that has induced such a long break from doing the thing I love most, but also a load of reading I had promised myself to do once college classes were out for the summer. There is so much to read. I feel like I could skip some of the more intimidating life lessons just by reading all the right books early in life, before I have to experience them with fledgling 20-year-old human eyes. It's funny how I can say that now, when only a few months ago I considered myself a sort of life expert because I hadn't yet felt heartbreak, or how terribly ill disappointing people I respected most in my life made me. Both these things happened in the first weeks of June this year, and I never want to go back to that. Never thought I'd have trouble with feeling I had half-assed so much at once that I could make myself physically ill. But then there it is, a life lesson for which I'm sure no book could have prepared me.
For some reason I have the name Imogen Wyndham stuck in my mind - a fictional character with a forcibly quiet life, coming up on the eve of her fortieth birthday, feeling she has accomplished so little in the days leading up to it. It's probably just because I have had The Awakening by Kate Chopin on my mind lately; that's so strange - I haven't read that since spring last year. Sometimes It takes months for my mind to work out and come back to figuring out the depth of stories. It took me a year after reading The Catcher in the Rye to finally come up with a dream about it. I hadn't thought about it since a group presentation on the psychoanalysis of Holden Caulfield in my Lit. Theory class last fall, and know for sure that it hadn't crossed my mind before going to sleep when I finally dreamed about it.
When I mentioned that I couldn't handle disappointing those who I respected most, I had in mind my manager at the place I currently deliver pizzas as a summer job. My manager was and is foremost a friend of mine whom I have known for four years now, only slightly by his association with a lifelong friend of mine, he being the boyfriend of that friend's cousin. I have always respected him because I saw how intelligent he was from the start, when I met him at age 16, and when he was almost 21. I had scarcely seen a happier person in my life. I watched him encounter everyone with such blatant - albeit modest - intelligence and true personable friendliness. I still hold this impression of him as I work for him until August.
Yesterday he posted something online that had me wondering. He wrote a Facebook status that suggested he couldn't wait for the next few years, when he would be making about $70k a year, and then on to six figures, and then eight, and so on. As he didn't strike me as the kind of person who would want loads of money beyond what it would take for him and his girlfriend to get married and support quite a few children (as that is his and her dream), I wondered why he would be so keen to make an over-abundance of money. I had to hear his reasoning when I got to work yesterday to know why such a happy person as he would need too much money. He answered easily that he wanted to pay for his degree in Business and make a perfect life for his potential family. He said he wanted a lot of money because he knew he had the mind to get it, and that he would try to better the world with it somehow. None of this was spoken in a joking manner or without some modesty - just matter-of-factly. After he had shown me that my chore was to "deckscrub the bathroom," as was written on our employee worksheet, he asked me how much time I would have between my time in Chicago and when I left for my exchange trip to Northern Ireland in September; he had already bought me and a bunch of his other friends passes to play paintball the weeks leading up to September. After that, as sort of an afterthought from the conversation earlier about his Facebook status while we had been folding boxes in the front of the store, he said that he mainly gave most of his money away already; he didn't give the slightest care about how money would be spent for himself - if anything the millions of dollars that he was after was for making the people in his life happy, and just proving that he could better the world because he had the mind to.
Because this is only a stream of consciousness (and a shoddy one at that), I did not try so hard to make this all make sense. Mostly I am trying to figure out what matters most to me, as I sit here at age 20, trying in my heart of hearts not to screw up how I present myself in the eyes of the people I most respect, and trying to figure out if maybe there is something to learn from understanding those people. I respect my manager, my friend Angela, my older brother Jake, my grandparents, and so many other people in my life for different reasons. Being commended or sincerely thanked for doing something great in their eyes makes life worth living. It makes me want to be like them, as in my manager's (friend's) case with making lots of money in the future, he makes me want to make money for the benefit of other people.
I guess after the loads of gibberish at the beginning of this, I did find a message. Stream of consciousness wins again.