"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible." -Vladimir Nobokov

Monday, October 5, 2015

Letter to October #4

Dear October,
      I  write to you with a weird mix of emotions. On the one hand today was a great day. It was the perfect mix of quiet, solitary activities and time spent in the company of friends. I got to read the book I raved about in my last letter, and I got to go out for donuts (a food I've been craving since the end of summer) and hang out with a bunch of wonderful people. Days like these always leave me feeling a little bittersweet though. I think it's melancholy for other days that weren't as good, the ones where I was stressed out or lazy or caught in an endless Youtube spiral. And I realize that the less-than-stellar days outnumber the great ones. That's not to say the other days are bad, or even that I didn't enjoy them while they were happening. They just pale in comparison.
Being the idealist that I am, this dissatisfaction usually leads to a feeling of clarity and determination. Tomorrow I will start with a clean slate. I'll make sure my great days outnumber my mediocre ones. But change, inevitably, is a stubborn, fickle beast. Our bodies give way again and again to the path of least resistance. Besides, how do I turn a vague feeling of restlessness into lasting change?
There's a piece of advice from Jad Abumrad (host of the Radiolab podcast), where he says, "Continue to reinvent. Keep things moving and changing and always a little bit out of reach." One could argue that that's how 20-somethings feel all the time - everything is just a little bit out of reach - but I think it goes deeper than that. Jad isn't just saying "follow your dreams" or "keep moving forward." He's saying that we have to fight what's comfortable. We have to push ourselves to break from the path of least resistance. If I can master this, I think maybe that melancholy that washes over me at the end of a really great day will go quiet. That's my working hypothesis, anyway.
This is all too easy to write about from my bed on a Sunday night. That's usually when my mind formulates plans that tomorrow's body won't act on. But it's worth it, I think, to appreciate the good days and the mediocre days for what they are. Because as Annie Dillard wisely said, "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."


Song of the day: When I Grow Up by First Aid Kit (Original by Fever Ray)

No comments:

Post a Comment