Today, I was struck by how much my priorities in life have changed. It’s 16:30 on a Sunday afternoon and I have done not a single stitch of homework due tomorrow. I have, however, accomplished my weekend goals for my website, found several new and interesting sites to syndicate and potentially add to my links, started reading Dune Messiah and Life of Pi, gotten in one good workout that whooped my ass (despite my general fatigue this weekend), spent some time talking seriously with Bridget (not about anything bad, just friendly talking, but not so light-hearted as I would with a mere acquaintance), visited some friends down the hall, made one of my more private activities a little more public and social, and listened to some new music.
I haven’t even tallied up all the things I haven’t done yet. Nor will I. I’m not stressed about homework, I’m not stressed about tests. This is such a new feeling for me I want to cry with relief. I’ll pick a subject and just start working until I finish, then I’ll start another subject. And when I’m done, I’ll go straight to bed, because homework doesn’t worry me anymore, doesn’t keep me up at night like it did when I was in high school. I haven’t had one of my headaches since I’ve been in college; none of that icky tension building in that one tender spot on your neck that tells you what you know is coming and adds pressure because of a strong fear of the pain that will lay you low for days and make you cry helplessly as you try to complete your homework and try to remember to eat or to stop eating and try to forget the chores you won’t do and the anger of your parents as a result and try not to look at the bed too often, despite the fact that it’s right fucking behind you and it’s 02:00.
During my senior year, what is known as “senioritis” hit me rather hard. This is more generally called apathy. I just didn’t give a fuck. I worked on finding the absolute minimum amount of work to get the A’s-with-one-B I wanted on the report card and transcript. Likewise, I stopped crying over B’s. I didn’t study for my AP or IB exams, except for, for most of them, a brief skimming of notes (literally, maybe three hours worth) either the night before or the day of. I shit you not. I still can’t believe I blew off the monumental exams I had worked so hard to train for for four fucking years. But I just couldn’t care. Not a fucking fig. IB diploma or not, 28 credit hours or 10, I didn’t give a damn. I seriously considered dropping my acceptance to Rose-Hulman and going to the in-state school I had been accepted to so I could skim by with easy classes and slide through getting a Computer Science diploma. (Not to dog on N.C. State or anything, of course, but that was my perception at the time.)
I’m finding that learning to live while studying, however, make things easier. My priorities are not impressing my teachers with my superior wit, besting my classmates, becoming a world-class marathon runner, or even getting my degree. My goals are to learn, to get healthy in the fullest sense, and to learn to enjoy myself in whatever I’m doing. I don’t want to be one of those that complains about whatever job I have, or whatever classes I signed up for, or whatever I’m doing. I’m fucking doing it, so I should enjoy something about it. Not that everything will always be pleasant and happy-go-lucky (and not that I’m never going to complain about anything), of course. I will choose to do things I would rather not be doing. I may end up in a shitty job, as the lesser of several evils, one including being on welfare or starving. But I don’t want to let that get me down; I want to be stronger than that.