Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving...

It's Thanksgiving again, and that brings about a few different responses this year. While I was expecting to have some anxiety eased by the break from the daily run-around, I find myself feeling bored and looking for things to occupy my time (hence the blog post). I also find it hard to relax around my family, all then who were here this weekend, because most of them don't really know who I am and we're all very different in our beliefs. Okay, okay, I know. I'M very different in my beliefs. They're pretty much orthodox for the Midwest. Either way, it's interesting to try and take a step back to observe.

Yesterday at dinner we went around the table and each named one thing we've been thankful for over the past year, starting with me. Strangely, I found myself struggling to come up with an answer I was really satisfied with. I couldn't help but think about all the strange things that had happened to me over the past year. One year ago, I was in Bixbee, Oklahoma enjoying Thanksgiving with Lindsey and her family. Thinking back now, our relationship had already started to become overly difficult, but I still loved her. That time and those emotions still feel so powerful and near to me, even considering the fact that we've been apart almost as long as we were together. It was a very consuming relationship in all regards.

The past year has witnessed the advent of me getting into ballet, which has been a very positive thing for me (regardless of how good I am at it). Last year I was involved in residential life at Drury, which turned out to be very destructive for various reasons. I found a church to go to which I really enjoy, I've found myself in an entirely new circle of friends on campus, and now more than ever I'm entirely confused as to what the future holds for me. I think I summed it up well when I told my family at the dinner table, "It's been a rebuilding year." So much change, so little time to settle into it all. And it won't be long until I'm off to a foreign country for a semester, bringing more change and less certainty than ever before!

Is this what growing up is like? I can't help but think that the existentialists are right. There is no certainty in life. If we're looking for genuine surety and comfort in life, we're going to find ourselves searching until the day we die. Maybe every year is like this for everyone. Constant flux (surprising, eh Buddhists?), constant gain and loss, never a moment of rest. How does one deal with it? That's my question for the week, I suppose. Panza, this one's for you: How does one become comfortable amidst the anxiety, absurdity, and unsurity of life? How will I be able to sit at the Thanksgiving dinner table next year and say, "This past year has been so wonderful! I'm so content with where I am!"

I promise I'll put up a real post with content and less whining soon. It's just been a stressful weekend.

3 comments:

Mozart said...

"How does one become comfortable amidst the anxiety, absurdity, and unsurity of life?"

Perhaps by becoming comfortable in the very uncertainty one fears. Easier said than done, I suppose, but think of it this way: We all have some sort of hopes, goals, or expectations for the future. We're all chasing some sort of dream or end-of-life-goal (money, fame, success, family, happiness, purpose, enlightenment, ______). We spend our lives pursuing this end, and we curse any unexpected obstacle that gets in our way. But maybe growing up is about accepting those setbacks and growing not towards the Ultimate Endgoal, but instead as a human being. Learning from our mistakes. Accepting life for what it is, both good and bad. Instead of asking, "Why me?" saying, "Why NOT me?" and making the proverbial lemonade out of the lemons that get chucked at us.

I don't really have the terminology to explain what I'm trying to say. And don't get me wrong--I'm certainly not suggesting that setting our sights on Ultimate Endgoals is a bad thing at all! Quite the contrary, as dreams are what keep us motivated and pushing on despite the stumbling stones of uncertainty. I guess what I mean to say is that uncertainty keeps us guessing, thinking, living, and growing.

Pretty sure none of that makes any sense, but there are my thoughts on the subject, for what they're worth. Ha.

-Shanna

Mark said...

Shanna-
Thanks for the thoughts, and they're worth a lot! I it when people take the time to add something to my thoughts, especially the people who are close to me. Thanks again for the words. They certainly give me something to ponder!

Latesa said...

I don't have any insightful advice for you. Sorry. I guess I just want to say that this Thanksgiving I was trying to think of what I am thankful for, especially in the last year. I can relate to your feelings extremely well, and I agree that for me this year has also been a "rebuilding year" as you called it. I'm still not quite sure what it is I'm thankful for since I feel like everything in my life has done a 180 on me in the last year. Anyway, sorry if I'm just rambling now. All this to say that it seems like growing up especially is really about change, but so is all life really. It's just how people react to circumstances that come up in their lives that dictate their happiness/contentment/whatever. *shrug*