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Saturday July 03, 2004, 14:53

My father points out that I have, at times, approached the world with a certain amount of naiveté. This has been apparent in two particular instances, the first almost ten years ago, and the second about two months ago. In the first instance, I had simply decided what college I was going to attend. There were the requisite informational sessions about other institutions, and applications that went out to safety and reach schools alike (to harken back to the high school college application parlance) and though there was a fair amount of frustration surrounding the actual process of submitting the applications, it was fairly certain that, in order to maintain balance in the universe, I would have to be admitted to my university of choice. There was really no other possible outcome. And when the deferral letter came in the mail, I was understandably dismayed and yet not entirely put off by the notion that I was going to have to wait a couple of more months for the inevitable and, sure enough, the acceptance letter finally showed up, precisely as it needed to, in order to maintain that aforementioned balance.

Similarly, I decided that 2004 was going to be the year that I found full-time employment. To be sure, I was only moderately proactive in my attempts at said full-time employment until I decided that I wanted a job in that nebulous industry known as "consulting," at which point I cast my net as far as I could, made one contact in the consulting world, sent in a resume, and was suddenly presented with an offer letter. Total time from contact to offer: one month.

So how does one leverage these anecdotes into some tangible set of values by which to live one's life? Or, more specifically, so what?

The point is really one of motivation and what one does with that motivation. This was to be something of a pean to grabbing life by the nuts and making it do your bidding. But I am learning more and more about the constraints that the practical world puts upon us with things like the notion of "time" and the requirement for "sleep." Take this space, for example. Formerly filled with words and thinking, it has fallen into disrepair (a fact that I bemoan every time I take the opportunity to actually write) because of a reallocation of resources and priorities. I have taken it upon myself (for who else is going to take it for me?) that I should continue to write and continue to formulate thoughts on the world and on life if only to prevent my brain from atrophying into something that is unable to form coherent sentences but through Powerpoint and bullets, for indeed, this is what my waking days have become.

My non-waking days have become rife with the remaining freelance clients that I maintain and futile attempts to read the newspaper and books -- oh books! -- that sit longingly on my sofa. Be it my tired mind or the dim lighting in the living room I can not be sure, but I find myself, on quite a regular basis, falling into slumber where I read, only to awaken hours later and drag myself to sleep where I do so until the alarm wakes me up and summons me to work. Even then, I try to cheat the night by setting that alarm but an hour earlier so I can get up and, could it be, hop on my bicycle and ride with the dawn, to invigorate the body and feed the mind with the daily happenings from public radio. And yet the constraints too often come into play and I find that there is no possibility for my mind and body to be functioning at that hour of the morning and I find myself instead waking and staggering into the shower, mind jerked alert but my body still lagging, all the way up Broadway to my office where I sit and stare at a monitor and think in bullet points and Powerpoint slides.

Would you believe it if I said I loved it? That this new life is exactly what my life required? The rut in which I had found myself has given way to a world of possibility and though there is no camaraderie around the water cooler, there is a communal lunch room that serves the purpose. But that is another thought for another day and maybe this time, that day will come sooner than a month from now.

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