Accounting for Strangeness

I never thought I would graduate from college in three years and I do not want to say or write that too loudly, because you never know what could happen. If all goes according to plan though, I will.

I remember high school teachers telling me college will be the best time of your life. Though I see where that could be true for some, I hardly think it resounds in my case. Not to say there were not good times, but I think there is more ahead.

I have always had a hard time living in the moment and it is something I am constantly working on improving. I think I have become better at it recently, though I seem to find more often than not what I do now is to prepare me for future circumstance.

Life is silly like that. It is human nature to prepare for things that are not guaranteed but realizing that is exactly what you are doing is even stranger.

I am a person who has been self-aware since a young age. Understanding yourself inside and out is both a burden and a curse. You are constantly over-analytical of what you are doing.

Just when you think you are doing everything right, the next moment you question if what you are doing matters at all. Playing this mind game is wasteful because the answer to both of these questions is that there is no clear answer about what you are doing.

I recently hosted a session with SPTV called “A Skype Experience with David Lawrence XVII and Bob Pondillo.” Lawrence, a voice-over talent and “Heroes” actor, and Pondillo, an Emmy award-winning filmmaker and writer, provided great advice to our group over an hour long Skype session not just about their job experiences, but about how to deal with what life hands you personally.

I recall Pondillo saying something like, “We’re all messed up and we have to reveal our strangeness. It makes us human.”

These were not his exact words, but the underlying moral I gathered was something like: Life is strange, you never know what could happen and knowing you can never know is what lets you do whatever you want to do.

I like the movie “Say Anything” with John Cusack. Maybe you have seen it, maybe you have not.

All you need to know about, in this case, is the title of the film. I think it is important to say anything, not just to others, but to yourself. Let yourself do anything and do not let yourself say you cannot do something.

You are human and can do whatever you want to within physical limits. It is this motto I hope to carry with me throughout life. Though it is easier said than done, and from me to you, I am constantly worrying. I think it is an achievable mindset to adjust to.

I hope I can do it. I hope for those of you graduating this winter, you enter the workforce with belief, not just that you will get a job, but you will do something that makes you happy. It does not even have to be about work.

Maybe you want to start a family or blog. Maybe you want to move to Mexico. I do not know what you want to do and it is okay to say you do not either.

Maybe that is bad advice, but I hope you see it as encouraging and understand that I am telling you the only limitations you have are the ones you put on yourself. Do not become your own roadblock.

For those graduating in May, I imagine next semester will go fast. I imagine life from here on will continue to speed up, so I offer you one lasting commentary, I hope you are always your own plot-changing device.

You can move in whatever direction you want to. Choosing direction may be difficult, but know no matter where you end up, your story is about you. Never lose yourself to a future you cannot predict.

 

Julia Flaherty
Arts & Entertainment Editor
jflah017@uwsp.edu

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