057.0: Living in fast forward.
Eww. Looking at the pictures of One Direction on that YouTube video really freaks me out.
If I saw One Direction in everyday life, doing everyday things, I wouldn’t give them a second thought because they look totally and utterly like children. The only outreach I’d do is probably a minor temptation to ask them if they are keeping up with their studies, or if they have a curfew to which they should be abiding sometime soon. I feel old, but I’m proud to now be this age — I’m less certain about enjoying catchy songs by an international phenomenon comprised of members who would be indistinguishable kids to me in daily life.
I keep having all these different ideas for what I want to put in a letter but I never seem to have the time to sit down and write them down, or if I do, I only have time to jot out a letter that is not especially meaningful and is only composed of perfunctory language. Does David Sedaris write essays that are not especially meaningful and are only composed of perfunctory language? No. Does my ex-lover Mindy Kaling write essays that are not especially meaningful and are only composed of perfunctory language? Again, no. Do I personally know either David Sedaris or Mindy Kaling? Aside from briefly chatting with David Sedaris at an event where I was selling his books, no.
It’s really tough keeping up with what has been happening in my own life. It’s even tougher when a natural disaster happens like that tornado in Oklahoma City. I think what has made these last few weeks so challenging is the constant push and pull of internal and external struggles: what I want to do with my life; practical responsibilities to maintain toward work, friends, and bills to pay; as well as worrying about my friends themselves, my family, and staying aware of the world at large. I can show you a good microcosm of these struggles by telling you more about my experience as a church leader. We are dealing with so much in terms of how to be socially responsible and a diverse community. It’s not easy being good Christians in a world where Christians have acted so badly. But that kind of reflection is an entirely separate letter.
It’s no wonder there are times when I just want to hide out in The Ballpark. Which I’ll be doing tomorrow. This season, day games have provided me with a much needed respite in the middle of a crazy schedule — although next week I’ll be on vacation for Selma’s wedding. The funny thing is that I didn’t start to think of it as a vacation until basically the last few days. Certainly it’s been on my mind as Selma’s Big Day, but it didn’t occur to me to think of it as something beneficial for myself as well. I wonder if that is an important oversight on which I should reflect. Or maybe it is saying nothing at all and I should not take things so seriously.
When I first started working at the bookstore, I was a full-time events coordinator. It was a role that involved a lot of responsibilities. One day, the general manager wanted to catch up with me to ask how I was acclimating to the role. I was honest and let him know that there was a lot to process but that I was starting to get the hang of all the various procedures and responsibilities of the role. Toward the end of our conversation, he nodded seemingly out of satisfaction over everything I said. But he also seemed visibly detached. What his face lacked in expression he made up for with an overwhelmingly, and unexpectedly poignant question.
“But are you having fun?” he said.
It has been a few months since I left the position to go part-time so that I could have time to go back to school. Did I have fun as an events coordinator? I would say that I realized that even though I was enthusiastic about applying for the position, once I spent some time in it, it became apparent for both myself and my colleagues that I was not the right fit. I’m grateful that they were able to find a role for me on a part-time basis and I still consider working in a bookstore to be a dream-come-true. However, now that I am back in school suddenly the world is once again as rich with possibility as when I was the age of the kids in One Direction. At times I have even found myself thinking to myself, “I want to make a difference.” It is a youthful answer to the decidedly adult question of, “What should I do with the rest of my life?”
I do wonder if, at 31, I am too late to make the kind of difference I could have made if I had instead decided back then the things that I am deciding now. But as soon as I wonder about that kind of thing, suddenly I realize that there isn’t much time to get stuck in that kind of moment, and I have to move on.