Showing posts from September, 2014

I Can't Even Dream

I had the random realization today that I've never run a marathon. This is not a particularly odd fact. Many people--most people, probably--have not run a marathon. But I was writing an email and watched myself type the following: "I can't even dream of running a marathon." Which is of course very bad vocabulary to use when you are me. Because there is this part of me that pounces on statements like that. It is one thing for me not to want to do something. That's fair. I don't have to do everything in this life. {Besides, I can't.} But it is another thing for me to look at a thing and realize, "It isn't that I don't want to accomplish this thing, it's that it seems so impossible that my subconscious has refused to dream about it." I try to keep those things to a minimum, but today I found one I hadn't realized existed: "I can't even dream of running a marathon." When writing this email, I went on to say

The Time of My Life

Well, I'm back. Back in the States. Facebook has exploded with congratulatory posts affirming me in my summer and return, commenting on how great of an opportunity I had, and generally remarking that it was the "time of my life." I only get one? That was my first thought upon seeing such a statement. What a glorious opportunity for you! Glad you enjoyed it--now it's time to settle down and reach for that mediocrity and normalcy we all long for. I'm sure that wasn't what my friends meant. They meant to be encouraging. They meant to be supportive. And I'm glad they said it, because it got me thinking and putting into words what I've always known to be true about myself: I intend to have the time of my life all the time. Having a great time--enjoying everything life has to offer--has nothing to do with where I am, what I do, who I know, or how I got there. My enjoyment and appreciation of my life is controlled by one thing: me. If I wake up,

Learning New Things Is Hard, Part I

I'm taking an upper-division chemistry course this semester. I don't have all the pre-requisites for it. I'm not majoring in chemistry. {The reason behind my enrollment is my research, which takes place in the chemical engineering department.} It's not the hardest of classes, especially not when compared to the upper-division physics I surround myself with. But it has a lab section. I have never in my life taken any sort of chem lab. My first task on our first day was to inventory my allotted drawer. I stared at my list. I stared at the contents of my drawer. I went up to the TA and said, "I've never taken a chemistry lab before. I've worked in one but never taken one, and I don't know what half this stuff is." I then went on to utterly fail when I wrote my answer to an assigned question on the board. I hadn't known we had assigned questions. It was a bad day. I walked out of the chemistry building almost in tears. "I don't know any of