When you forget how to live

By The Beacon | November 10, 2014 11:07am
Cassie Sheridan |photo by Parker Shoaff/The Beacon

By Cassie Sheridan

There are those dark, tense, horrible, grim and hopeless moments in every semester. They can happen in your dorm room, at that party Saturday night, the subsequent hangover or after hours in Clark Library.

They strike you when you least expect it, and unfortunately it’s that time of year when these moments seem to spike in frequency. You’re buried in a hole of schoolwork and you’re having trouble remembering a time when you weren’t. The person you gave yourself to isn’t texting you back. The concept of eating another sandwich for lunch from the Commons is revolting. You’re behind and frustrated and a paper on metaphysics is making you think critically not about the human condition as a whole but instead your own condition: lonely, confused and lost.

What can you do when you forget how to live? When every choice you’ve made lately makes you identify a little more closely with Lindsey Lohan or Shia Labeouf, before the spiritual enlightenment. You want to walk around with a paper bag on your head that reads: ‘I am a fraud.’ Or ‘I am not what I was promised.’

The nature of people continually espousing that ‘it gets better’ does not make you feel better and the ‘PC non-judgmental’ but actually judging you streak on this campus is enough to either throw you farther down the path of destruction or make you hide out in a study room feeling even more isolated and lonely than before.

Here’s the reality though: It does get better, but it also stays the same.

You WILL procrastinate on that paper or problem set despite telling yourself a million times that you wouldn’t do the library till 1 a.m. thing again. You WILL eat that entire Dominos pizza… the whole thing. By yourself. You WILL go back to that guy or girl who seems like a great choice at night or whenever PSafe shows up even though you know they suck. You WILL gossip about others and get found out. You WILL get so swamped with schoolwork and activities and the ‘drama’ of everyday life that you forget important things in other people’s lives.

But here’s the important thing: WHO CARES?

Life is not about perfection. It’s essential to remember that there’s nothing you’ve ever done that hasn’t contributed to your understanding of yourself today, even all those times you ate the whole pizza at 2 a.m.

Don’t let the miserable month of November with Thanksgiving and Christmas too far out of reach, an endlessly gray cloudy sky and the impending doom of those research papers you haven’t started destroy you. Don’t get so wrapped up in that volatile relationship you forget all the positive ones. Don’t let the words that others say or think about you be your controlling rhetoric.

Here are two things to always remember: On weekdays, between the hours of midnight to six in the morning, you feel way lonelier and less positive than you actually are. On weekends, between the hours of midnight to six in the morning, you feel way funnier and better at gymnastics than you actually are.

Don’t confuse the two for your actual condition.

Success is not a place you find, it’s a journey you take. When you are exhausted and disoriented, it’s easy to believe you will never again find your own equilibrium.  But it’s these moments of deep despair, disorientation and exhaustion when you have the beautiful, wonderful and real opportunity to rediscover yourself. Don’t let it all go to waste by wallowing in your dorm room and hiding yourself away in season after season of Grey’s Anatomy.

You know yourself better than you think, and I have a sneaking suspicion that when it comes to the hard questions of ‘what do you love?’ and ‘when are you the happiest?’ you already have more than a few answers. Ensure time for those things amidst the chaos.

You’re not perfect, but you’re progressing, and that’s how you ought to live.