This post has been a long time coming but one I’ve been dreading. I am on the eve of my undergraduate experience starring at the ambiguous abyss of my impending adulthood. Quite frankly I’ve been depressed about it for probably longer than I know. I’m starting to feel it and its affects are blooming into some of my personal relationships, also, my relationship with God. The main effect: confusion and fear. I’m coping in my own way—a heavy dose of hard rock, working out and not thinking about it.
I have lived and thrived in this place that I have made my very own for four years. Being here has been the longest amount of time in one place in my entire life. As an Army brat the moment I was letting my roots grow deep, it was time to pull out and start over. This place was somewhere I chose to be. I made a name for myself, explored my passions, saw glimpses of my face in this world, and most importantly…. I was needed. I think that’s what it comes down to. We want to be in a place where we are needed. I want to be needed somewhere. Kind of like the Cheers theme song, we want to go where everybody knows our name.
I’ve got no other motive or message for any of you other than I needed to say this for myself because I am needing to deal with it and move on to make a name in a new way.
I have an exit interview with the department of communication and theatre next week and I have to prepare a 2+ page paper on what I learned here and what I would and wouldn’t change. I tried to get a coherent thought on paper but it just wasn’t happening. What have I learned? What have I improved on? What has this meant to me? All that came out was nostalgic dribble.
I wonder what I will keep and bring with me as I start this next part of my journey. Will I forsake all that I have learned and tally it up as foolishness? Will I embrace it and use it in new ways with new faces? God only knows. I feel an urge to get away and climb a mountain. I want to ride on the back of a bucking roaring bear for half a mile and then slit its throat leaving me victorious. I want to carry that bear back to my village where my people will celebrate my battle and then feast on the fruits of my work.
That all might seem strange to you, and please know I am not a fan of bear meat or of killing those beautiful creatures. I just need a grand challenge to initiate me into this new chapter. It’s a primitive and mysterious instinct that I cannot ignore no more than I can ignore the nose on my face. Every time I look down its just sort of there.
Here is something to chew on. In our contemporary American culture we have no ritual to bring youth into man and womanhood. It simply isn’t there. This is something my theatre professor told me once and I never understood it until now. Think about it. Yes, there is graduation but that’s just wearing a robe in front of other people for an hour and having a piece of paper handed to you. What does that mean? Then there is marriage. I just don’t think that would satisfy this indescribable desire in me. Furthermore I’m not getting married anytime soon.
Two summers ago I hiked New York’s tallest mountain by myself. I wasn’t alone as I had three friends with me, but they were my age—there were no adults. It was something I decided, I planned, I executed, and I achieved. The memory of that day will never leave me. I was the first human being on that summit. Nature and I alone with God. The view and feeling was something I won’t let words taint.
I want something like that. I need something epic. I need something to make me feel alive and to remind me that I am not in control before I enter the real world.
And so I am planning a 250 mile bike ride with one of my best friends from college. We’re going to ride from Kansas City to Rolla only on the back roads as to avoid the dangers of the interstate. Maybe that trek will serve this need.
Wherever you are in life try to figure out where you are needed and don’t let go. Understand what you can control and don’t worry about anything else. I may not be able to control my feelings about letting go of this life I’ve created for these four years but I can choose what I take with me as I go.