When Eternity Finds Its Way In To Today

I’m deathly afraid of eternities and infinities. My brain likes it much more when I have a finite amount of things left to do.

I used to be a philosophy major. It was a hard time in my life. I think I used to like philosophy. It’s hard to remember that far back, but I think I did, once. I started to second-guess my major at the same point in my life that I began to consider it as a life-long career.

The problem with being a life-long philosopher is that your job is never really done. There are always critics to argue against. There are always new ideas to explore. There are always more books to read, more systems to overthrow, and more logic to do.

That scared the hell out of me. I don’t know if I could have been a philosopher. Maybe I don’t have what it takes. But I do know that I would have been burnt out before I had gotten through grad school. I would have been focused on the following sixty years of my career. I would have been thinking about the next thing always. That’s tiring.

For a while, dropping my philosophy major made my life easier. I don’t plan on making an academic career out of my studies in literature so the endless amount of academic work in the field doesn’t intimidate me. But now I realize that infinity, the future, eternity sneaks up on you. It finds you. And pretty soon, you realize that you are never going to be able to read everything, see everything, meet every person important in your field. Then you have a choice.

You can either let it intimidate you. You can let it ruin you. You can let it stress you out.

Or

You focus on the task at hand. You can approach your present challenge as if it is the last thing you will ever have to accomplish. And you can do it.

A Story About a Bagel from Which You Can Draw Your Own Moral

The other day, I burnt my morning bagel.

When I moved into my apartment a couple of months ago, I brought along this pretty janky toaster. It’s old school. Back then, when I had just moved in, I burnt things regularly. There was a learning curve. I had to learn the proper settings and techniques to make my bagels, Pop-tarts and English muffins the perfect golden brown.

Back then, I didn’t mind burning things so much. It meant that I was learning. I was getting better at the whole toasting business. I was on my way to a post-burnt society.

The other day, I burnt my morning bagel.

I was devastated. This burnt bagel served no purpose! I knew the mistake I had made. I couldn’t really learn from it. It was a lesson I had already learned. My biggest regret was not taking a picture of it before I threw it away so I could post it here.

I begrudgingly put another bagel in the toaster. And I watched over it diligently, not wanting to make the same useless mistake twice.

The other day, I made the most perfect bagel ever.

The Interesting Business of College

Being a college student is interesting business. On the one hand, we are told repeatedly that this is the time when we get to start living – we have the freedom and the ability to really do what we want. On the other hand, there is an understood rule that we will be responsible, get our degrees, go on to occupy “meaningful” jobs and be productive members of society.

The great absurdity of life, as my friend once said, is that we don’t spend every second of every day doing something we love. Because, he argued, who, if not ourselves, are we trying to make happy? And if there is anytime at all to be happy, isn’t it during our life?

These are important questions to think about. The problem is that happiness is such a hard concept to pin down. Is someone who plays video games all day because that’s what she wants to do really happier than someone who goes to class because she has a responsibility to do so? I don’t think so.

Yes, we should be chasing things we are passionate about all day erryday, but we also shouldn’t let immediate gratification blind us to the fact that some of the things we want we are going to have to wait for.

What do you wish you were doing?