Perpetually Unfinished
Thursday, January 29, 2004
 
My goodness. My life is busy.

This quarter, this January, has taken stress to a whole new level. I'm used to having a couple things a day on my to-do list and occasionally running into a busy, overwhelming day. But pretty much every day in 2004, I've had at least 7 or 8 distinct specific things I need to take care of that day. It's classwork and activities and errands and miscellaneous-- and, oh yeah, that job search thing. Between trying every bit of networking I can (and thus balancing 15-20 names to contact and follow up on), checking idealist.org and npo.net and unionjobs.com pretty much every day, fiddling with my resume, and pursuing an aimless course of internet searches to try to locate interesting organizations in Chicago and DC, it sucks up a lot of free time without any tangible results as of yet-- and of course the lack of tangible results leads to the free-floating stress and anxiety.

But you know what? Yeah, I'm stressed and overwhelmed and nervous about finding a job. But despite it all, I'm happy, in a deep-down way. Life is good. Sure, I'd rather life was relaxing as well as happy, but this sure beats being stressed and unhappy.

Here are just a few of the things that are making me happy this quarter, in no particular order:

The snow. Hey, I like the snow! It's pretty. And I figure if we're going to be cold anyway, might as well have the snow to show for it. Besides, when it snows every day, that cuts down on the gross dirty slush on the roads.

My independent study. I've spent hours every week reading the Daily from 1968-1971. It's fucking fascinating. Yeah, I get distracted from focusing on the parts relevant to student activism because I find every nook and cranny and taste of culture and society intriguing, but so what? I'm enjoying myself. I'll have to put some quotes up on the blog at some point... they're priceless.

Mulling spices. I fell in love with mulled cider when we made some with Colleen's spices at Halloween, then tried to make some from scratch over winter break and failed miserably. But then I found a tin for 75% off at Cost Plus. No, I haven't used them yet, but there's just that satisfaction about having something you're going to enjoy in your possession (and knowing it was damn cheap!).

My birthday. Celebrating it with the love of those who mean the most to me. That's what made it so special.

Students for Economic Justice. People actually come to the meetings now. Yeah, it's still not a ton of people, but I don't worry anymore about it collapsing when I graduate, and there are people who are enthuastic about the things I'm enthusiastic about.

Informational interviewing. There's something just amazing and uplifting and beautiful about meeting with someone who barely knows you, or who doesn't know you, or who knows someone who knows you, and having them smile at you and give you their best advice and constructively critique your resume and offer to recommend you to the people they know at the places you want to work. I don't know if any of it will actually pay off in terms of me getting a job, but it just renews my faith in human nature, you know? Random acts of kindness-- I love it.
 
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Thursday, January 01, 2004
 
Goodbye 2003... Welcome to 2004.

I can't say I'm sorry to say goodbye to 2003. I experienced a lot, and I felt a lot, and I grew a lot. It was quite a roller-coaster, full of intense lows and highs, and if you'd asked me to make predictions last January 1, never in a million years would I have guessed 2003 would happen the way it did. Despite it all, if I had the chance to go straight from 2002 to 2004, I wouldn't take that option, because I have the sense that 2003 has done a hell of a lot to help change me from the child I used to be to the adult I'm becoming. But that doesn't mean I'm not glad to say goodbye to it, and welcome in a new year with even more unpredictable surprises. I just hope it's a bit calmer and easier than 2003.

Ha! By the end of 2004, I'm going to be an almost-23 year old college graduate living who-knows-where working at a job doing who-knows-what. Scary, huh?

But let's not dwell on that. I have all of 2004 for blog entries dwelling on that. Let's move on to New Year's resolutions. It's kind of hard, because while I could make some college-related resolutions, that'll only cover 1/4 of 2004, and I really don't know what I'll be doing during the rest of the year so I don't know what resolutions will be appropriate. Oh, well, I'll have to be broad and vague.

1. Procrastinate less.
2. Learn more about nutrition, and experiment with making healthier and more nutritious foods that I like enough to eat on a regular basis.
3. Watch less television. Just because cable means that there's at least one moderately interesting show on at all times, that doesn't mean that the TV should be on at all times.
4. Develop more self-confidence.
5. Along with #4, work on both starting new friendships with others and developing the relationships with people I already know.
6. Try to care less about what people think about me if they're not important people in my life.

Think I can do it?
 
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Nature attains perfection, but man never does. There is a perfect ant, a perfect bee, but man is perpetually unfinished. He is both an unfinished animal and an unfinished man. It is this incurable unfinishedness which sets man apart from other living things. For, in the attempt to finish himself, man becomes a creator. Moreover, the incurable unfinishedness keeps man perpetually immature, perpetually capable of learning and growing.
--Eric Hoffer





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