Monday, October 13, 2008


This weekend, reunions with old friends reminded me of why I love being alive.

I left Madison Friday afternoon and took the Badger Bus home. I sat front row, and the sun coming through the front window caused my side window to reflect what came through the front. The half closer to the front of the bus reflected what was on the opposite side of the bus, while the half closer to me was transparent to the outside. The effect mesmerized me for most of the ride. Cars in the reflection disappeared into grasses as the bus moved forward and their images evaporated. I thought it was beautiful. It was like the earth was taking back its freedom. Branches, grasses, hills, leaves, dirt spread victoriously over pavement and moving metals.

I devoted my time on the bus to trying to figure out how to apply all the thoughts I’d been having to living my life in the world I was born into. It’s something I have to do regularly—zoom way out, and zoom back in on my life to understand it in context. I usually begin with trying to compromise absurdism with my own natural desires. I conclude that although our actions can never affect the cosmic balance of things, it’s natural, and okay, to try to tip the balance in our favor. Absurdism is an objective idea. As necessarily subjective beings we can accept the cosmic insignificance of what is significant to us, and still allow it to be significant to us. For me, that means trying to make the world a better place for humans to live happily and in harmony with the planet.

Although I’ve long decided I don’t agree with the direction humanity has gone in the past thousands of years, I’ve also accepted that for humanity to regress to a simpler state is probably impossible without a major “disaster.” No matter how passionately I believe we could all be happier in a simpler world, I should not spend my life completely devoted to the cause and sacrifice my own happiness. I can only live my life how I want to live it, do what I can to open people’s minds, and own my actions. I am happy when the net affect of my actions is a movement toward my ideal world, and I am with people I love.

I spent the weekend with people I love. Friday night I drove from Milwaukee to Northwestern to visit friends from journalism camp. As I entered Evanston I felt I was returning home. I pulled into a parking lot, but saw that it would cost too much money. To leave the lot I had to maneuver against the flow of moving cars and beeping horns, but with the flow of my friend’s laughter on the phone. After finding parking, I finally held her in my arms, buried my face in her shoulder, and cried. We met up with other friends and danced the night away with jungle juice and laughter.

I drove back to Milwaukee the next day, and hopped into a car that night with two best friends from high school, for a journey back to Madison. We shouted the words of the Hold Steady into the night, and exchanged words of our lives (which were not very different from those we shouted). At the Broken Social Scene show that night, Kevin Drew asked the crowd to scream. And scream again. And scream again. The first time I watched him and screamed with excitement. The second time I closed my eyes and screamed with anguish. And the third time I looked at my friends and screamed with an overwhelming love for them.

After the weekend, I have this sense that I have three homes—in Milwaukee, in Evanston, and in Madison. And while every time I have constructed a new home it has been trying and scary, it really does feel better to have three homes than one. I have this analogy I use for relationships in my life. I picture myself, my psyche, as a rope. I am always holding the rope, and it gets very heavy. In every relationship I have, I give someone else some of my rope to hold, and it helps with the weight. It hurts when they let go, but it’s worth it because I can’t hold it by myself. It’s been hard forming relationships and trusting people enough to give them part of my rope, but this weekend reminded me of why I do it. To everyone out there holding a piece, thank you.

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