20 November 2009

Time Is Running Out

I complain a lot. A lot. And I'll be the first to admit it. Most evenings, just to annoy my flatmate, I'll sit on the couch and repeat, in a monotone "I'm bored. I'm bored. I'm bored. I'm bored." Within two days of moving in, I accused his old flatmate of having fleas, because I discovered a hideous rash on one of my ankles (ew, I know). If there's something to complain about, I will, and if there's not, then I'll find something.

Which leads me to my next point: I complain, more than anything, about my current state of existence.
I wish I was in Japan.
I wish I was in Texas.
I wish I was hiking with Aubrey on the Appalachian Trail.
I wish I was in Bayswater.
I wish I was at Lake George.
I wish I attended Stanford. Or NYU. Or UCLA.

You get the picture. I'd rather be anywhere but here. I'm a very discontented girl.

At Worlds in Australia, I met the wife of an athlete who was on her first overseas adventure. Ever. She'd not been out of the Waikato previously. Not been on a plane (subsequently, when they experienced turbulence on the flight, she assumed the horror of motion-sickness was normal). I felt slightly guilty then, for all my complaining - given that I grew up not just in the Waikato but in far-flung villages in Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and of course, England. I've competed in the US, Canada, Greece, Argentina, Australia, and England.

None of this, however, makes me any less happy with where I am now - which is, for the record, attending the Summer Session at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. I still have many, many things to do, and every day, I feel like I'm running out of time. I'm writing about it today because it drove me to such distraction that I spent an hour gazing listlessly (while my mind worked on overdrive) out of the eleventh-floor window at the James Hight Library on campus. I had three books with me (Ragtime, The English Patient, and The Crying Of Lot 49) that I had the intention of reading, but after flipping through a few pages of Ragtime and feeling completely unenlightened, unable to absorb anything, I gave up and got to pondering.

Normally, I'd call this sort of behaviour procrastinating, because normally it would be intentional. In previous years of study, I've been known to investigate loosely related subtopics (which inevitably lead to even less related topics, before downward spiraling into unrelated oblivion) which, while I would claim gave me a better understanding of the subject at hand, was a blatant attempt to avoid the necessary. Everyone does it.

But this semester, things are different. I'm determined to have all nine required texts for that fiction class done and dusted before it starts a few days after the New Year. So it pissed me off today when I couldn't concentrate. It's still pisssing me off now, and it's making my writing blathery and almost incoherent.

I don't know what my problem is.

I chose this destiny for myself. After Worlds in September, I sold my bike.
"No more triathlon, or competitive sport for me!" I said. I thought about my Master's degree. I thought and thought. And then my dear friend Ben died, and it was within days of that awful news, in a moment of melancholy clarity, when I decided that I would commit at least the next eighteen months of my life to furthering my education. I enrolled not only at the University of Otago, but also for the Summer programme here at Canterbury. There was to be no more fucking around, dabbling in pointless and dead-end pursuits. It was a matter of getting my degree, and getting out of here.

I'm pleased to say that halfway through the Summer Session, I'm still dedicated to the cause, which is something of a milestone in that usually my dreams and grand plans are not unlike the waves at Manu, which is where Ben's ashes were scattered. The waves there, the best of the west, come in at sometimes more than six feet high, awe-inspiring and full of grandeur. Then within moments they crash into the rocks, never to be seen again. Often forgotten.

So why the restlessness? I'm curious. I have a plan that I'm actually following through. Once this is done, I have more exciting plans - Japan, Texas, Iceland. The Appalachian Trail with Aubrey. Even NYU or Stanford. I wish I would shut the hell up.

I spent this afternoon in a remarkable funk, following the library episode. There was a fly in my room. My bed is uncomfortable. Our internet kept cutting out. I was behind in my reading. I don't feel much better now, which is why this very post is getting longer and more grim. I feel bad about it. I need to spend some more time with Luke.

It's now five minutes past midnight. It's a new day.

Time to get on with it.

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