Monday, April 21, 2008

No Such Thing

My life is a dream and I don’t want to wake up. Or maybe at home in the States I was asleep and here I am finally awake. Regardless of the state I’m in now, there is no question that it will have to change when I get back. It’s too good to be true. Life isn’t meant to be like this, is it? I’m already reminiscing and it will be a tough transition.

Friday marked the first day of Easter vacation here in Greece (the Greeks celebrate on a different schedule) and I couldn’t be more excited. Yomi, my friend who I stayed with in London, has come to return the favor. We couldn’t be having a better time. Friday night was the taverna where I probably definitely drank way too much sweet red wine (let’s look at it as a lesson in tolerance) and Saturday was a quiet night at Yannis’, a local coffee shop with amazing cocoa and equally entertaining patrons. Several of my friends parents were in town- so we went out with them to laugh, play cards and exchange stories all night. Sunday was straight out of a storybook. We took the bus down the winding coast of the Aegean to the world-renowned beaches of Halkidiki. The region consists of hundreds of tiny peninsulas jutting out into the foamy blue surf. The weather was delicious. Rather than sweltering under fierce rays, we basked in a heatless sun as the warm air blew over us and wrapped us in a balmy Mediterranean gust. I laid in the cabana eating sweet oranges and tangy kiwis, watching Byron and Anthony skip flat stones five and six times into the horizon. I kept pinching myself. It was real.

Something has been bothering me lately. Is unconditional support from family and friends too much to ask? I don’t think so. While I’ve been here I’ve realized a couple things. For one, I don’t fit into a traditional mold. I can’t see myself walking the beaten path. You know which one I’m talking about. Go to school, go to harder school, get a job, get a life. Die. It’s just not me. Don’t think I underestimate the importance of education- far from that. And I do realize I am fortunate to even have the opportunity, because on a world scale most people do not. However, I feel like school is part of an institution meant to keep the blinders on and keep us in line. Think about it. School keeps you occupied, forces you to pick from a list of life ambitions called “majors” and then sends you on your merry way. At what time do personal choice and conformity intersect? Simultaneously, this institution builds within us a complex of fear. So much so that we are terrified of non-conformity. We fear not being successful, but more importantly, we fear uncertainty. It is much easier to follow the beaten path, get the credits and make the transfers. We read all the books but can’t find the answers. So in the end, where does all this get us? Seems to me like we have a few options: 1.) take the “safe” route like our parents want us to and risk accruing a list of unrealized dreams. 2.) Wallow in the fact that we are institutionalized, yet do nothing to change it or 3.) Take a blind leap, knowing full well that nothing in life is certain, but willing to sacrifice that certainty in exchange for the power of personal direction and individual choice. I think it was John Mayer who reminded us that there was no such thing as the "real world".

“They love to tell us stay inside the lines. But something’s better on the other side.”

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