Skip to main content


So, browsing through the XKCD archives, and came across this gem, transcribed below:

XKCD #137: Dreams

Guy1: You should be more careful what you write. You never know when a future employer might read it.
Guy2: When did we forget our dreams?
Guy1: What?
Guy2: The infinite possibilities each day holds should stagger the mind. The sheer number of experiences I could have is uncountable, breathtaking, and I'm sitting here refreshing my inbox. We live trapped in loops, reliving a few days over and over, and we envision only a handful of paths laid out ahead of us. We see the same things each day, we respond the same way, we think the same thoughts, each day a slight variation on the last, every moment smoothly following the gentle curves of societal norms. We act like if we just get through today, tomorrow our dreams will come back to us.

And no, I don't have all the answers. I don't know how to jolt myself into seeing what each moment could become. But I do know one thing: the solution doesn't involve watering down my every little idea and creative impulse for the sake of someday easing my fit into a mold. It doesn't involve tempering my life to better fit someone's expectations. It doesn't involve constantly holding back for fear of shaking things up. This is very important, so I want to say it as clearly as I can:

Tooltext: In Connor's second thesis it is stated 'There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.' Does the routine destroy our creativity or do we lose creativity and fall into the routine? Anyway, who's up for a road trip!

I cannot possibly agree more, other than actually becoming Randall Monroe, but that would just be weird. It has been mentioned to me in various contexts that I should think about what I'm doing now, so that I have a better chance of $activity in the future. I am of the opinion that, if the $activity was actually interesting to me, then it probably doesn't care about whatever I'm doing right now. If it does, then I'm probably not interested in it. And, I realize that this thinking could end up getting me into a tight place someday, but, dammit, we live in a country that, at least on a theoretical level, grants us the right to reasonable free speech and expression, and I'll be damned before I give that up to fit myself somewhere that may or may not exist in the future. As someone who studies probability and statistics, the expected value from such sacrifice is significantly less than whatever was sacrificed. Mathematically speaking, it doesn't make any sense. From a different perspective, it doesn't make sense for someone who has, for many years now, actively fought for human rights across the globe, including (and these times, especially) in the US, to give up the selfsame rights thatthey are fighting for for others in order to conform to a potential future standard.

These days, what with all the shit going on in the government and the world, as well as a growing realization that I am not as young as I was and the perception that I am losing much of the spontaneous creativity that I once had (OK, yes, I'll only be 20 in December, but, dammit, I've been a kid with a mostly adult mind for the better part of the last decade, and so a lot of the time it feels like I'm much older), I find myself grappling with this kind of issue a lot. Maybe it's just a perception, or that I'm bored and don't have enough to do to keep my mind occupied, or perhaps it's just part of growing up (like the settling of the daemons in Lyra's world in the His Dark Materials trilogy) that one just needs to accept, but I have much difficulty nowadays just sitting down and creating things out of nowhere. I used to be able to sit down and pull elaborate worlds out of the ether, via drawing or writing. Now, I sit at my desk, and look at a blank piece of paper, and sigh, and the webcomic that I have been trying to start has thus far not had even a single, solitary line drawn to paper. Instead, it seems my creativity has either vanished or had some form of unwilling transformation put on it, locking it to one form much different from it's previous fluid nature. Perhaps this all is just me finally going through the insecurity of adolescence, having put that all off in order to better server those I lead during the normal time for such development. Mayhap it stems from having been at school, on my own, relying on my own skills to make it through life and running my own schedule, looking back on high school and feeling an uncrossable gap back to those days. It may be related to the fact that I currently have no real home, my roots having been pulled up in a sense, not belonging in Milwaukee anymore, not being at school, and feeling lost in a new place over in Michigan, most familiar things either changed or gone entirely. Perchance it has something to do with going to a Cub Scout camp and spending a few hours watching the kids and wondering at the thought that I once was that small and full of boundless energy. Whatever it is, I'm not sure, and I'm even less sure as to how to go about fixing it or coping with it. I suppose I will get through it, on my own skills and with the help of friends and family.

I sit and look back through what I have written here, not editing it but for typos and awkward phrasing, and I think that it looks much more depressed than I actually am. To be sure, there may be bits of that there, and I may yet have to deal with that, as there is a family history of that. However, I personally feel that I am not depressed, just retrospective, approaching a milestone in my life at a time in which very little is sure. I have found out information about people close to me that I did not and do not care to know, and things are a little weird at times. It also doesn't help that there have been a number of sources of strong emotion around me recently, and I have not had many chances to relieve myself of the absorbed emotional energy of those encounters. Nevertheless, I am starting to find myself a stable footing, I think, and perhaps fro there I can figure out exactly what I need to do to either repair my spirit or adapt myself to make more realistic expectations of myself.

Like a small boat at sea, I suspect the underlying trouble is that I have partially lost the strong guiding factor in my life: a purpose. For many years, I was a leader in my Boy Scout troop, and heavily involved in school groups and academia. I had a vision of what I intended to do with my life, and I had people who looked to me to help them develop their own visions and set their compasses to point a true line. Then, the troop began to falter, for one reason or another, and I had to pull much harder to keep the troop, myself, and those under me together and heading down a steady course. Eventually, I found things going easier, and I could let go a bit. I focused more on my studies and activities, earned my Eagle rank, and graduated high school. I adjusted my vision a bit to account for my means, and continued on. I worked at a Boy Scout camp as the director of an area as only a second-year staff member. The work was fun, I know I helped many boys find a path for themselves, and I hoped that I had, at least in some small way, shown them how better to live their lives. However, it was a bit much, and I was a bit burned out by the end of the summer. I found myself at college, and, like many of my newfound friends and others in my situation, I had to essentially recreate myself. Gone were many of the institutions that had defined me in the past, and so I found new ones to replace them. I still had a course laid out, and I felt I could branch out a bit. I ended up with much, much more on my plate than I had ever had before, and things started to get skewed a little. Some of the perspective I had once had was gone, as I had to focus an increasing amount of attention to the immediate moment and significantly smaller amount of attention on the overall picture, the future, the distant shore, my destination. I heard over the year about the initial successes of the troop I had pulled through its darker days, the positive growth of various activities I had been involved with in high school and the school itself, and I felt buoyed up by that. However, then, about the same time it became apparent that I had perhaps stretched myself a little thin at school, one by one, those successes began to turn sour. The troop was falling apart, colliding against the rocks of stubbornness and tradition. Various organizations at my high school seemed to be losing their purpose that I had once admired. Things, as they are wont to do, were changing. In dealt with it all, but, looking back, I was beginning to question the path I had chosen, so long ago, which had been held so firm in my mind until that point. Around that time, I finally came up with what i thought was as accurate a descriptor of my sexuality as I could possibly get, and I essentially came out to a select number of people. Response was positive, and I thought I might have regained my footing again. School ended, however, and suddenly I was running full on, with nothing but ice underneath. My father's job hung in the balance of stubborn, seemingly heartless people so incredibly far removed from my family that I may as well have been a piece of lint they brushed off their expensive suits. My financial situation, while still within acceptable limits for the time being, was considerably worse than I had expected it to be going into my first year of college. Things were not going to plan. At this point, naturally, my repressed (not sure this is the right word, but it's the best I can do) adolescence, with all its insecurity, uncertainty, and confusion hit. I had too much time to think and not enough to think about, like driving a Ferrari and hitting a patch of ice--too much power and too little control, spinning wheels with no effect. Things have finally started settling down, but I have yet to find a chance to work through all this and figure out what the hell is going on.

I'm thinking that I have ranted long enough now. I'll make it through, though I realize that's little consolation to someone who has read all of that above here. I can assure you that, whatever, I end up deciding, will have been decided with logic and much thought behind it. And, I look towards the future, and I see the sun rising again, just starting to peek above the horizon, and so I think, "Hold on, hope, we're gonna be all right soon."