I hate that I don’t have the ability to put my life on hold. When it comes to supporting others, I shouldn’t be thinking about the track practices I will miss, or the assignments that will go undone. I shouldn’t be worrying about papers and running around a rubber circle. And yet, I do. I think about all of the hours lost. I set side by side the potential future days of the coming week. I try to predict all of the consequences of this fork in the road, knowing that trying to control time is futile.
Today, I am trying to decide if I should fly to Arizona to be with my family as we go through a difficult time. For the past week, my Grandpa has been in the ICU. Things were touch and go. Every time the phone rang, my heart skipped a beat. “This is it,” I thought as the adrenaline pumped through my veins. I planned on going to Arizona today if he hadn’t improved at all. Tomorrow and Wednesday were the days that would determine if we had to let him go. But last night we received the news that he is getting better–that he will probably make a full recovery. And now, the decision is much harder. In the culture of this college and of American society, excuses to miss work and the constant motion of everyday life have rules. My Nana told me last night after hearing the good news that she would still love to have me in Arizona with everyone, but that she would completely understand if I have too many obligations this week to make the trip. She doesn’t want to burden me with the terrifying prospect of dropping everything and just going.
I feel like I have lost the ability to be spontaneous–to make decisions of pure emotion. I am a product of our culturally constructed perspective of time. I analyze the value of every hour. My assignment notebook is filled with lists of obligations. Aggressively, I cross out lines several times a day. In the past few days I have been afraid to make the trip to Arizona because I didn’t want to watch my Grandfather die. Now I am afraid of what I will miss here. Then there’s the money to consider. A round trip plane ticket costs over $700. Money shouldn’t matter in a situation like this, but I still consider it. I am socialized to consider it. Everything has a price. Gas, plane wings, time… and experience. I realize that I haven’t appreciated my grandparents enough. I’ve become consumed with my own little bubble of the world. I think through an individualized lens, and I don’t learn enough from what they have to teach me. This is my chance to make up for it. To move one step closer to making amends for the scatter brained and self-centered habits of my generation.
These days I write constantly. It’s a way to process everything I’m feeling and thinking and doing. It helps me to make sense of the world. I think that we need to exercise our connecting and designing minds to keep them in shape. Too often, we let them turn to a putty of crammed facts and meaningless pop culture considerations. We need to write and reflect and discuss. This is why I love the requirement of these journal entries. They will continue to be a space for me to make something out of the fluttering thoughts that occur at 10:27 am on a Monday morning.