Year two is drifting to a close. I say drifting because the time between now and my last exam seems to be floaty, immaterial almost – I am here but at the same time I’m not wholly present. After this Thursday my Winter semester will be done and my fate will be sealed in terms of scholarships and grades. However, in addition to working this summer I will also be taking two summer courses so I won’t be straying far from academia throughout the next four months. Let’s be fair, I would be a touch lost without something bookish and writing centric to occupy me. Thankfully, my job requires research so there’s no danger of not being scholastically motivated every day of the week.
It’s weird to think that second year will soon be over. I’ve been pondering for the past couple weeks about what I should write to mark this occasion and I’ve just been drawing a blank. I know that at several points I have written about my desire to produce content for this blog on a regular basis but upon reflection I’ve nixed the rigidity of such a commitment. If I seriously have nothing I wish to write about I will not subject my audience to badly written pieces about nothing in particular that I write out of desperation. What I’m simply trying to say can be communicated in a better fashion using an ‘iconic’ phrase of our modern world “Do it for the Vine!” I will not be “Doing it for the Vine” meaning that I am not looking for seven seconds of fame; I’m looking to express myself and hopefully reach some people along the way.
This entire year has been a challenge in every sense of the word. I feel as if I have been scaling Mount Purgatory because even at the worst of times I knew that my end goal would be worth all of the trials and tribulations. I tackled this year for me. First year was quite the test of adaption but I feel like I took to it quite well. I joined clubs, I did my readings, I made friends, I got a new job, and then another and another. Looking back it all seems to have been relatively carefree. This year was the test. This is the year that they weed people out in my program because philosophy is tough – it makes you think, really think about life and your place in this world. It’s all about you until you realize it’s not about you at all. It’s about God or the Good. It’s about Happiness. These realizations are not easy to process and they are even more difficult to embrace.
I named this post ‘Sunshine and Shadows’ because I think that those two words accurately describe this past year. You must understand, my ‘year’ is defined by the beginning and the end of the academic calendar. To me December 31st is just a good excuse to see people who will make promises to be better when the clock strikes midnight. The ‘Sunshine’ portion is hopefully self-explanatory, there were many great memories this year that helped make the more difficult days easier to bear. As for the ‘Shadows’ part, that might take a tad more explaining. Shadows can only be created if there’s light present and usually when I visualize my insecurities and fears I picture a shadowy corner of my mind. The rest of my mind is the light that casts shadows onto those less happy and bright ideas. I fought a decent amount of doubt and suffered many existential crises this past year – both of those experiences were shadows in my life. However, shadows are not innately negative – they can provide welcome shade and are the perfect place for a brief respite from the bustling world.
As for why this title, I was simply searching for a phrase to sum up my year and those words popped into my head. I find them fitting terms too, every single day brings with it happiness and the antithesis of happiness – it’s not necessarily sadness or even pain but just a lack of happiness. Those are the shadows of life. However, without those shadows we would not be able to understand the value of happiness. I sorely want to write something deep and beautiful but life cannot always be made up of pretty phrases and witty words. Sometimes life is about sharp sentences, short answers, and a desperate need to retreat inside one’s own mind. I have learned so much about myself this past year and I hope that this knowledge will serve me well in the future.
The end of this year feels much like the end of a chapter in a particularly relatable novel. Hopefully there will be no cliffhangers this time around but I shan’t say a word because of “Spoilers.” I look forward to seeing what the “Summer of 2015” chapter holds – be it sunshine or shadows I aim to embrace whatever life sees fit to deal me with a smile on my face.