The Problem With Time

“I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.”

-John Burroughs

There is one problem that I cannot seem to solve: time will not slow down. Two weeks ago, I found this so alarming that I simply laid on my floor for hours in a desperate attempt to stop time. Not only did this fail to change the Earth’s course, but I became even more tuned in to the day’s revolution as I watched the room steadily darken. So I got up, finished my day and arrived at class the next day wholly unsatisfied with the weekend’s length.

This problem embeds itself most ruthlessly in my life during the school year; in the summer, I can easily escape via a spontaneous camping trip or hike. There, I can revel in simplicity and nature like the hippie that inhabits my soul. There, I can engage in hour-long conversations about the brevity of our existence. There, I can stop time.IMG_3857And the next day, I can escape reality again. I can explore hidden trails for miles atop an animal that understands my deeply rooted need for freedom. On horseback, I can fly.IMG_4009 - Version 2But at the end of these three glorious months, the same thing always happens. School always returns. And the weeks become monotonous steps in the gateway to conformity. I doze through science classes, eat tolerable dining hall food and evade the general population. By the time night arrives, I find schoolwork too mundane to capture my attention and avoid it in hopes that I can feed my intellect with information more vital to my entity. Every weekday brings routine and–for many months–an omnipresent drizzle.

My only release comes when I step outside and face the limits of my mental and physical capability. Because when I do this, when I run, I feel alive. I feel connected to the world and to the basic human condition. And even amid the muddiest and hardest runs, it feels like summer.Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 10.23.57 PM                        Plus I get to explore trails like this. And 85 minutes running these hills feels eons longer than 85 minutes in biology lab.

I find my freedom here so I can live without fear that I am missing something big, something meaningful that should reveal itself in society’s ingrained conventions. Because I know that right now, my classes do not exist to inundate my day with significance; they exist to teach me to think. And if I can think, then I can observe and experience the world with intent.

Time may not slow down, but summer will return, and when it does, I can marvel once again at sights like this:IMG_4216And that beauty is anything but ephemeral.

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Free Moon

One month into my freshman year of Catholic high school, I stood eating goldfish in a crowded hallway with my newest friends. We were amid a ten-minute break and the conversation had begun to run thin; each orange cracker placed in my mouth allowed me a few more seconds of socially acceptable silence. Though I knew one friend from middle school, the rest were entirely from that month and we had not yet bridged the defining stage of friendship: inside jokes.

After several long minutes of bearably awkward freshman conversation, one particularly enthusiastic friend whipped out her phone to capture my goldfish-eating moment and simultaneously asked for my number. Midway through typing my name, she paused and slowly raised her head to look at me. Noting her wild gaze, I immediately ceased movement and, with a lone goldfish hovering in my hand, awaited her next move.

“Monica,” she said. “Moooonica. MOON-ica. What if someone asked you to prom and said, ‘I’ll jump over the MOON for you?!’” We locked eyes in silence for several seconds until she abruptly deleted what she had typed and replaced it with what would forever become my nickname in that emerging friend group.

Since that fateful day, no one has asked me to a dance saying they would jump over the moon for me, and most people do not even call me Moon, but the name still feels essential to my friendships and, in small part, my identity. Plus I think the real moon is pretty freaking rad and the mere concept of space and the universe spirals me into an existential tizzy every time it comes up. Fundamentally, I feel connected enough to that gray sphere to make it 50% of this blog’s title.

The other 50% comes from the entire purpose for this blog. Since starting college I have felt freer to choose my own adventure than when I first read Goosebumps books as a child. Now I can write my own chapters and go back to the start when I need and even keep moving forward when the first adventure should end. My capacity for curiosity and exploration is endless, my quest for meaning and purpose is uninhibited and my desire for universal justice is unchanging.

This blog is essentially my attempt to release my thoughts to the world and create something meaningful.

This may emerge through opinions or stories or pictures but it will always reflect my fundamental belief in equality and it will always parallel my struggle to make sense of the world. I cannot predict how this story will end, but the adventure begins now.