Monday January 29. 2001

living in the moment

I am not too good at living in the moment. I never have been. I remember in 11th grade, when I first read Thoreau (or was it Emerson? Well, one of the transcendentalists), and I grasped on the concept of being in the moment. Not thinking about what has happened before, or what's going to happen, but what I am doing right now. I tried it for a while. I'd be thinking of something I had to do later, and then I would have to force my mind back into the present. It made me realize just how much I miss when I'm busy thinking about a time that is not now.

This trend has continued to this day. Now, I am constantly thinking about what will happen after college. Every move I make now in my education is calculated toward the ultimate goal of getting into graduate school and then getting a good job and making a living with art. I've spent so much time thinking of the future, thinking about how I'm going to move to New York City, how I want to live with John, how I want to make a living, that I've quite neglected the things that are happening to me right now.

I realize that I'm probably going to look back at this four years of my life as some of best of my life. I know this, it's a thought that's lurking in the back of my head, but I'm not realizing it fully. I'm too busy thinking about the next thing that's coming.

There's so much for me to decide in the next few months. I have come to the very scary realization that I'm going to have to declare my major next month. I'm fairly sure I know what I'm going to do...a double major in metals and ceramics. But doubt keeps creeping in the mix. I find myself frequently becoming disenchanted with clay, but metals is so frustrating sometimes that I want to tear my hair out. I don't know if I can find a good balance and harmony and integration between the two.

I feel so torn in my art. There's the part of me that's the computer nerd, who loves graphic design, web design and CAD-CAM, who could sit in front of a computer for hours at a time and would spend all her spare money on new computer toys, immersing herself in the newest technology. And then there's the part of me who slaps clay on the wheel and uses her hands to shape it, something so sensual and tactile, something so unlike the cold and sterile clicking of computer keys. I don't know how to reconcile this. I don't know if I can, I don't know if I should. I feel so conflicted, but I know I can't do everything.

Last week, my ceramics prof was showing slides he had taken in Rome. Tyler has a school in Rome, and most students go for a least a semester there. I hadn't planned on going at all. My reasoning was that it would mess up the schedule that I had all planned out in my head for the next two and a half years. I knew if I did go, I wouldn't be able to graduate in four years. And of course, it would cost so much money to fly there and back, and to live there and work there. But as I looked at those slides, I was struck by a very strong desire to go to Rome.

I talked to my friend Rachel for a few minutes after class. She was planning on going to Rome for an entire year. We stood outside the studio, the wind and light rain whipping around us. "You know," she said, "this is a once in a lifetime thing. To go to Rome, to go with your friends and make art. I'd go if I were you."

Sure, it would mess up the grand scheme of things that I had planned. I don't like deviating from the plan, I like to know what's going to happen to me, I want to know where I will be a week from now, a month from now, a year from now. But I know I really can't predict everything that's going to happen to me. How I wish I could throw caution to the wind and just live, live in the moment and not worry so much about the future or the past. I think going to Rome is something I need. The scope of my life is depressingly small. I haven't gone anywhere or done anything of note. Granted, I am only 20, but these are the days to make a difference. To seize the day and to live in the moment.

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One Year Ago:
"Hi, Mom and Dad, it's, I know this going to sound stupid given that Dad was just down here today to drop off the car, but uh..I'm coming home for the weekend, because there's basically nothing to do here and I'm feeling kind of depressed, so it's...7:30, I should be home a little after 9. I'll see you then."