I realize that it’s pointless to ask this question. One season would lose its meaning without the other. Stagnation in this respect, as in any other, would serve nothing but the quest for dynamism. Those of you who have read “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” will know about how winter can drag on and on until no one can stand it any more. This doesn’t mean, however, that we can’t have a preference for it. And, despite the obvious appeals of summer, I got bored quickly, and was waiting for it to end and for school to start. Being in school and experiencing its various social and academic dramas keeps me busy. I wanted to be busy; I looked forward to it.
Which was why it was so surprising that this past week was such a blow to my system. So much so that even though classes aren’t as rigorous in add/drop week as they are the rest of the semester, and even though there really haven’t been that many errands to run or models to build, I find that I can’t get out of bed after a nice, long sleep.
So this column is for anyone out there who has had a problem getting adjusted this week. But we’ll find the balance between classes and the rest of our lives; it will get easier, I promise.
One thing that has had an impact on most of our lives this semester is the change in the daily schedule of classes that creates a longer lunch break than in previous years. Except somehow, I don’t feel the difference. It doesn’t seem to be longer; I can’t seem to be able to get more done. Maybe it’s because the canteen is closer to my faculty now than the other end of Main Campus; or maybe, it’s very easy to get used to being comfortable. Why is it that we seem to spread out to occupy any space we get, which makes us yearn for more? Why is it that whenever you take your things to your old room they seem to have expanded so nothing fits anywhere anymore?
I’d like to believe that a large part of the answer is the irresistible urge to turn over a new leaf and start anew. We’re insatiable: we always strive for more, for better, no matter how much we can achieve. For different people, the type of achievement is different. It can be about classes, or your position in student society, or how much time you spend with your friends or pursuing your favorite hobby. It doesn’t matter. In the beginning, everything seems possible. Toward the middle, it gets a bit muddled; we can sometimes lose our bearings. Sometimes, it seems best to start over. We all have the hope that we won’t get sidetracked this time, that we’ll keep our focus and do more. I think it’s beautiful, this hope. For some, it can turn into greed. But most people want not only to take more, but also to contribute more, and I maintain the belief that these people and the collective hope they sustain is what keeps us all going.
Our lives are designed to be made up of many pages — we turn to a new one at every corner, and every fork on the road. We sometimes have to start over, not on familiar ground, but in new environments. I remember when my friends and I finished elementary school; it had taken so long to become the oldest kids in the schoolyard, and now we were the youngest. Again. Still, I didn’t want to go back; I wanted to keep moving forward.
I imagine it’s the same for many people. We may not go back to the page that has been turned, but what determines the quality of the book is what we take with us into the future, into our new beginnings. What we do creates what is to come. What we sometimes forget is that this effect goes beyond us. Everyone is the center of their own universe, but these universes don’t exist separately, not as much as they clash, coexist and just generally create the paradox we call life. Our fingerprints and footprints become part of the collective memory. The effort of beginning again is often exhausting, or confusing, but we keep making it anyway. As H. G. Wells — an awesome writer, by the way — commented about a more “realistic” collegue of his:
“He sets himself to pick the straws out of the hair of life… but without the straws, she is no longer the made woman we love.” I wish you all many weeks of endlessly picking straws, many good memories to keep, and a terrific semester!