A Balancing Act on Slackwire, Part I

Which came first, the summer or the lethargy?

The easy connection to make is, school’s out, it’s vacation time, hence the desperate urge to do absolutely nothing. But it can also stand to reason that the urge to do nothing during the summer is some sort of universal truth of humanity, so instead of trudging through a forced-work ethic, we just give everyone three months off.

This is all rhetorical reasoning. I just wanted to think about the summer.

Or not. The do nothing-urge is quite all-encompassing.

…Ten minutes have passed since I typed the last sentence. I’ve gotten myself a glass of orange juice, and am congratulating myself on making the effort.

The way I see it, we (in general) function on a trial-and-error basis. As in, the way we figure out what we want to do when we grow up is through first figuring out what we absolutelyewgrossgetthatawayfromme not want to do. Maybe that’s what mandatory K-12 education is for (or has morphed into, for bizarre, tragic reasons). Throughout the school year, there’s a constant undercurrent of dissatisfaction, perhaps on account that we’re not strictly there by choice, and because school is all about workworkwork (if you’re lucky, not of the tedious sort), the natural rebellion is to not workworkwork. Of course, it takes some rumination to understand that not all work is the same (some work are just more equal than others) and further contemplation and self-reflection etc.etc. to figure out what work one is okay with doing. Just okay, as in, my tolerance level for this is decent enough. Then we take that as a starting point, move forward to find work that perhaps we actually– god forbid– like doing.

Or, you make like me and find ways to appreciate all of the workworkwork, convince yourself all work are created equal and smile ’em all to death. All in a day’s work in Stockholm.

So maybe summer serves a function. Just throwing it out there: it’s either a rehab, or a re-envisioning.

Rehab in the sense that you finally get to breathe without a bunch of grunt work on your shoulders, you quit every facet of school you can, and you come back in the fall with hastily-done work and regret/irritation that you didn’t space out your workload over all your free time (I speak with too much experience); it rehabilitates you for another year at school, where your teacher builds and schedules your learning for you, and by the end of the school year, you do feel accomplished, but in that awkward way when someone compliments you on store-bought pie-filling, rather than a cake which you made from scratch.

Re-envisioning in the sense that you have ruminated and contemplated and reflected, have combed through your school year’s learning with grains of salt relative to your care for them, how they matter to you. In the summer, you have the barest infrastructure to keep you conscious of school as an entity (summer reading, writing), and at this point you know how you best fit in (or out) of the school’s system. Once you are comfortable with that, you start doing work on your own, and moving forward on your own, and school becomes the extra jacket you keep slung over your arm that you don’t mind carrying around, per se, but would most definitely put down, put on, put into some kind of use at any given chance.

I’d like to be re-envisioning, especially seeing as it seems terribly convenient for the process of writing a senior thesis. I was so excited about writing the thesis for the past year, O woe be naive me. Nah, I’m still excited, just excited in that jump-up-and-down-and-cry-and-puke way. It’s only June, and the panic’s already settling in. Relatively unwarranted panic, but when has that ever stopped anything?

I’d like for my summer to be re-envisioning, but for now, I might be better off working the rehab. Just a month– I think I deserved it (Junior Year was exhausting in the best way, which is the worst way, ’cause you like that feeling of accomplished exhaustion). In July, I’ll get back on my feet, hopefully rejuvenated in a September way, and move forth with awesome work ethic.

For now, I think I’ll settle for another glass of orange juice.

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