I’ve never been one to like school, in fact I absolutely dread it. Which is funny because I’ve picked a 4 year degree and switched my major so much I have to go an extra semester. This semester is rough because I have classes every. single. day. I was sitting in one of these classes last week and my mind was all over the place. It didn’t help that the professor was super dry and rambling off on some tangent about some unrelated topic he happened to get on. While sitting in his class I kept asking myself What am I doing here?? Why does this even matter??as the frustration inside of me was festering. Inspirational people would say this is the time to remind yourself of your “whys,” or reasons. The thing is, I don’t really have any reasons for going to college besides acquiring a lot of debt and a degree which will hopefully get me a decent job, but the debt is the only guarantee.
I’m still sitting in his class, having somewhat of an existential crisis, as I realize my life has morphed into a passive state of numbness as I awkwardly stumble through each day. Slightly freaking out, I began trying to think of when the last time was where I actually felt alive, trying to come up with a memory so I could remember how it feels. To my relief, the more I thought about it, the more memories came: driving on a warm sunny day with the windows down, music turned up, sunglasses on, laughing with the person in the passenger seat; throwing my hands up in the air on the back of a jet ski going 70mph; skinny dipping in freezing water in the middle of the night laughing our heads off; running ahead of my hiking group in the Adirondacks trying to find shelter from the progressing storm already upon us; sitting on top of a train signal in the middle of the night feeling the structure shake as the roaring train screams by underneath; jumping out of an airplane at 1,300 ft; literally anything but sitting in that class.
I reminisced my way through these memories, coming to the conclusion that what they all have in common is the ability to shock me into recognition that I am alive. Now this might sound like an adrenaline addiction, and maybe it is. The experiences will be different for everyone, but the feeling is the same. I understand that the mundane is unavoidable to some extent, but what happens when it consumes the majority of your life? Are you actually living? Maybe these moments are meant to be few and far between, but I can’t settle for that. I believe there’s a big difference between being alive and being aware you’re alive and actually living.
I’m not going to do anything drastic like drop out of college (although it is very tempting). However this gave me a lot of perspective and refocused my mind from spiraling into the stress ball of temporary (and sometimes meaningless) worries. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of homework, projects, making money, etc, all the while forgetting the life we have been given is meant to be lived. I think it’s a great reminder make an effort to not get so caught up in the mundane that we forget to ask ourselves, what makes me feel alive? And then takes steps in that direction.