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I’m happy, very happy almost all the time now, because I honestly love teaching, and I live in a gorgeous and interesting place, and materially am pretty comfortable. But even with all this happiness (most of the time I drive home from work just amazed at how great my day was, even on the relatively shitty days), I’m still feeling listless. The happier I am with what I’m doing, the worse it gets, really, because I realize that (even though I knew I wanted to teach when I was, like, eight) I am here essentially through dumb luck. I stumbled on the JET program at the right moment to apply, when I was fed up with my miserable cubicle job and had one of my infrequent bursts of directable energy. For once I didn’t hit a hard patch and dither till the deadline passed. I am unlikely to be this lucky again. And if I am finally figuring out what I like, and if the last time I tried it worked so well, if I’m going to live up to my you-do-it-to-yourself personal philosophy, I have to, I really, really have to, sit down and do some thinking. I have to get a plan. Not an inflexible, day-planner plan, but a direction, a goal. Just on the weekdays, between getting home from work and going to bed I’ve got more than seven hours a day. There has to be a way to put that time to better use than rewatching old TV or rereading old books.

The seventh season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is essentially pointless. The villain sucks, the character development is flat or too dramatically bent, and the climax is a bit anti-. (They probably should have stopped after five and done “Once More with Feeling” as a special.) Even the episode I like most is a bit annoying, because it’s about Andrew, who is more than just a bit annoying, but when you watch it at the right time, when you’ve got that listless feeling and you don’t know why, it can be a good reminder of something you keep forgetting.

You see, diary, there’s a difference between story-telling and thinking. Many times in my life, I’ve thought that I think too much and act too little. But the truth is that I think almost not at all, and what I called thinking on those occasions was not thinking, but narrating.
I used to run all these internal comparisons to Hamlet. Our family situations are a bit different, but I could really relate to his paralyzing ruminations. I thought we were both thinking too much to have time or energy to act, but the truth is that Hamlet is too busy telling himself (ghost) stories about his life to live it. This is a good way to make your life seem more sensible, if your mom is dating your uncle, or less boring, if you never actually do anything, but it’s all just storytelling. I don’t do much of that anymore (you may have noticed), but unfortunately I haven’t been doing much thinking either. The truth is, I’m a bit shallow and not all that smart. I quip pretty well and read a lot, so I often fool people (especially myself) into thinking I’m a lot brighter and deeper than I really am. I need to think more (and better). I need to get working on that self-awareness thing on a level beyond telling stories about myself to myself. I need to feel listless less and do more. I need to quit forgetting all of this all the time.

Maybe that’s why I’m putting this here, as a public reminder to myself. Maybe it’s more of the narrating I mean to be avoiding, maybe not. Maybe I just feel like it, and that’s enough reason.

Filed by shaun at May 23rd, 2010 under indifferenthonest

Well said, dude.

Comment by Ryan — 27 Jun 2010 @ 12:54 pm

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