Life as an Extreme Sport


I made a long and somewhat rambling post to a LiveJournal I keep (largely for commenting in friends posts), talking loosely about friends and moving. It’s still on my mind, not the least for which it being largely uncommented upon by the people who saw it. This is not surprising – what do you say to someone saying things like “we never see each other, so will moving 3000 miles away really change anything about our relationship?” But I do think it’s interesting how segmented my life has become. I have my academic friends, and then the non-academic friends. They rarely mix or mingle, when they do get thrown together, it’s awkward. (I’m already wincing at the idea of my graduation…) I see many of those academic friends several times a week, where I see the non-academic friends once a month if I’m very lucky. Some of the people I still communicate with frequently I haven’t actually seen, face to face, in several months.

It pulls at me. It’s hard; I have a lot of friends I love dearly, but who I can’t talk much about my education with. I’ve finally reached that point of specialization where I want the indepth conversation I simply can’t have with people who aren’t also studying or conversant in the topic. We can still talk about other things, but as school and my thesis continues to consume me, it becomes harder to focus on things that aren’t about the phenomenological implications of affect in medicine, or however it should be phrased today.

It’s a corny metaphor, but I feel like a butterfly in a crysallis. Stirring, moving, coming close to breaking out of my shell and flying away. In a lot of ways, I’m looking forward to living in a new city. It’ll be hard, sure. I’m not great at making friends, social small talk and the like, but I’ll be around people with similar academic interests (I am largely isolated in my interests at UW), and that idea alone really energizes me.

I was at the Beaverton Powells on Friday afternoon, and managed to lose my father in the store. After wandering for a bit (and picking up books I hadn’t been planning on buying), I opted to stand in one spot and wait for him to find me. The spot I chose was the ethics segment of the philosophy section, and I just stood there looking over the books (and yes, okay, grabbing one or two to buy). Dad found me after about five minutes, and the first thing I said to him was “can you imagine? In a few years, my name will be up here somewhere on the shelf…”

Can you imagine that? Sometime in the not so distant future, you’ll be able to go into a bookstore and buy something I wrote. Something meaningful that I wrote. Now granted, it’ll have to be a large bookstore carrying a large ethics section, or a university bookstore (unless I go the pop culture route with my dissertation, who knows), but it will be out there. I will be out there.