“It’s much easier to not know things sometimes. Things change and friends leave. And life doesn’t stop for anybody. I wanted to laugh. Or maybe get mad. Or maybe shrug at how strange everybody was, especially me. I think the idea is that every person has to live for his or her own life and then make the choice to share it with other people. You can’t just sit their and put everybody’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can’t. You have to do things. I’m going to do what I want to do. I’m going to be who I really am. And I’m going to figure out what that is. And we could all sit around and wonder and feel bad about each other and blame a lot of people for what they did or didn’t do or what they didn’t know. I don’t know. I guess there could always be someone to blame. It’s just different. Maybe it’s good to put things in perspective, but sometimes, I think that the only perspective is to really be there. Because it’s okay to feel things. I was really there. And that was enough to make me feel infinite.”
Contemplate that for a moment.
“I feel infinite.”
That’s how the quote ends. It’s my favorite part. But not because I feel as though it is still true. Mostly because I remember what it felt like to feel that way. Partly because I’m starting to realize that I have been in mourning for the self that felt infinite for a long time now. I started thinking about this the other day, trying to pinpoint the last time I felt that my life was full of infinite possibility. I had some moments that came pretty close when I was playing Magenta (RHPS last year). Amazing, but not quite. My last birthday in Oswego- that came pretty close. That was the kind of night where you’re happy just to be. But it wasn’t quite infinite. I thought and thought and thought about this and the last time I can remember thinking that I could do ANYTHING was May 2007. 42nd Street was opening and I was in the front line of that tap number, stage left and beaming like I was on Broadway. The curtain started rising and my feet started moving and everything was perfection. And I felt infinite.
And here we are. Six years is a long time to go without feeling that way.
I am sitting in the atrium of a law school right now. I’m on as close to a full scholarship as this university gives out. And it’s not the worst thing that has ever happened to me. The intellectual discourse can be very stimulating. But intellect notwithstanding, my visceral reaction to being here has been very poor. I can keep up with this. I find the work boring and mildly challenging, with an interesting story thrown in here and there. There’s something bolstering about knowing that academically I am just fine. But my heart hurts. This feels very much like the final step to giving up infinity and settling. It feels like I am in mourning for the person I thought I would be. And I don’t know if that’s a normal reaction. Is this just the part of being a grown-up that sucks? Is there supposed to be a point in your life when you put aside your self? I once told someone that if you’re not doing what you want to do, you should at least be doing something. And then I took my own advice.
I have never felt quite so ashamed of advice I’ve given.
I think the right thing to say would have been a lot closer to, “Well, what’s keeping you from doing what you want to do?”
And, y’know, I don’t have an answer to that.
I signed up for the LSAT on a whim. I’m the kind of nerd who likes standardized tests and was mostly just curious how I’d do. And I did relatively well. But I almost wish I’d failed. It’s one thing to have the ability to study law. It’s a whole other to have the heart for it.
I don’t really feel good about where I am right now. And while I hate trite turns of phrase, I really have “made my bed” with this and now I have to see it through at least until December.
I keep hoping something will click and all the sudden I will feel some degree of passion and enthusiasm for what I am doing. I moved my wife to a whole new state for this and we left behind a life that was just starting to get pretty good. It’d be nice to feel like it was worth it.
But it would be even nicer to feel infinite again.
All quotes courtesy of Stephen Chbosky.