Competition.

Well, I haven’t been all too consistent with the whole daily prompt thing… I did it consistently for one whole day in a row! It’ll take some getting used to, I suppose.

Today’s prompt:

Competition: What activity, task, or game brings your most competitive streak?

That’s a great  question. I honestly don’t know. I’m not too competitive, except with swimming, and noone here really swims too much. I remember racing on swim team, and–god–it was one of the most exhilarating experiences… It’s something that I was completely consumed in. It was a moment to myself. The minute or so that I was in the water for a race was time that I didn’t have to think about anything else; I wasn’t thinking about if my parents were watching, I wasn’t thinking about my friends, or my teammates… It was always my race, and swimming was my sport. It was something I could always own.

I’m definitely planning on joining the club swim team next year, up here at CSU. It’ll be good to get out and see some different people, even if it means dry, flaky skin and crispy hair.

This prompt bothers me a bit, mainly because I can’t really think of any other times in which I’m super competitive, or super compelled to reach beyond what my peers are reaching for. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid of failure or something, or perhaps I’m simply lazy. The obvious (and simple) answer is: find something you truly love doing, or become satisfied with what you’re doing now. But I feel like this is the wrong thing to be telling myself right now. Life isn’t black and white, as much as I may want it to be. Finding a passion surely can’t be something that you can pressure yourself into and say: well, you should find something to be passionate about! I mean, it can’t be that hard, girl!

The truth is, it is hard. I want something to be passionate about with all of my heart. It’s just so frustrating when I feel like it’s nearly impossible. I mean, yes, school is fun, and college is great, but it’s not something that I’d elect to do on my own. When I tell people this (namely my parents) their question is always: then why are you even going to college? When answering this question, my first instinct is to say: I don’t know! When in actuality, I do know why I’m here. I’m here to receive an education in order to further my future as a(n) *insert profession here*. I’m here to better my future, and consequentially “better” the American system.

I feel a lot of pressure to succeed here in college. There’s a ton of pressure to do well, to study for tests, to cram, to apply for internships and scholarships and get merit work-study grants and on and on and on. I do want to do lots of these things, but I also want to do it at my own pace. I don’t like that a 4-year program is shoved down my throat. I don’t like being told that I need to do x, y and z to survive and create a good resume. I know those things. But how can I possibly have an internship, a job, apply for scholarships, apply the the President Leadership Program, attend school, study for tests, write papers, go to the gym, eat semi-regularly, drink in every ounce of sleep I have the time for and have a social life! They say life is a balance, and it becomes more fun as you learn how to manage it better. Ugh but even the promise of a bright future can do little to help, sometimes.

My beta fish, Puddles (aka “Puds”) was looking a little under the weather today. He’s been eating fine, and he’s been swimming well, but he just didn’t seem to be moving so much today. Concerned, I decided to shift some things around and open the drapes so that he could have some light from the window. (I mean, the instruction manual said to “keep out of direct sunlight” but whatever). He’s definitely more active now. Sometimes, even the smallest of creatures need a little bit of light. Sometimes, we all need things to look forward to. (Now that I think about it, I hope the light isn’t making Puds uncomfortable or anything and that’s the real reason why he’s being more active).

I’m just stubborn, I guess. I don’t want to settle for things that make me “kinda happy”. I’m afraid that I’ll settle for less, I guess. That’s why I want the world to be so radically different–because that’s where I can see myself being the happiest. I think I know deep down that I can find happiness anywhere I go, and no matter what I decide to become. What’s holding me back from that happiness is not wanting to settle. I don’t want to make the most of every moment, because I’m afraid that in doing so, I’ll end up cheating myself out of a happier, healthier life. This is insanely ironic, however, because in being afraid of settling, I’m cheating myself out of happiness, anyways. It’s become a downwards spiral. It’s totally crazy, too! But I’m just scared of going through life telling myself to make the best of things when, really, there’s a valid reason to be unhappy and I’m just tolerating life.

As with most things, there is an equilibrium. Perhaps not in the exact middle of two extremes–perhaps the best solution lies slightly to the left, slightly to the right, or anywhere on the vast coordinate plane that takes into account all possible solutions. Of course, you can’t just tolerate life, because if you just tolerate life, then there is no room for improvement or betterment of any situation. I don’t want to be comfortable sitting in a situation that should make me uncomfortable, simply because I “want to be happy”. On the other hand, being completely intolerant of life doesn’t seem to make much sense, either, mainly because that’s what I’m doing right now, and it’s only served to make me miserable every day of my life. I don’t want to be part of the stupid education system that doesn’t even teach effectively and has a ton of issues with the employment and treatment of faculty. Solution: drop out. That wouldn’t make me very happy, either, because I would have to either live at home or get a place by myself and work a minimum wage job. Solution: don’t do that, either. There are only so many options when you’re completely intolerant of life, and when all is said and done, you’re usually stuck with wishing–harder than you’ve ever wished for anything before–that the world would change to accommodate your needs.

My dad said to be patiently impatient, and that’s what I’ll try next. I’m going to give college till junior year to get better (which, by then, I’m halfway through and might as well just finish, anyways). If it doesn’t get better, I’ll know I tried, and it’s not the place for me. People say college starts to suck freshman year, anyways, so I’m hoping I’m just part of a trend. Until then, I’m going to try to try, which I haven’t been doing. I’ve just been skating through school, trying to get by doing as little work as necessary. I’m not quite sure how to facilitate this change. I’m not quite sure how to make education fun and worthwhile. I’m going to start by participating in my smaller classes, and not worrying too much about what other people think. Worry less, think a little more. Why not, right?

~C

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