Sunday, July 3, 2011

carpe diem.

Nothing like writing a blog at 2AM when you can't sleep, eh?

So, I recently re-watched most of season 1 of Community. For those of you who don't know, it's a show "mocking" a community college, but it actually takes a pretty close look at life and relationships between people: friends, teachers/students, lovers, and the like. It's funny (of course, with Joel McHale how could it not be?!) and it often either exposes a part of life we refuse to confront, or "teaches a lesson," so to speak. I recently watched an episode in which the professor of the class was very "Carpe diem!"--albeit, it seemed very fake (he was too happy!). He told his students they would only pass the class if they could "seize the day" (as the phrase loosely translates).

So, throughout the episode, Jeff (Joel McHale) goes on about trying to plan some a way to seize the day.

If you're not laughing yet, or at least chuckling or shaking your should be.

He's planning to seize the day?! Come on now! How do you plan to be spontaneous?!

Well, so as to not leave you hanging (and spoiler alert, for those who plan on watching season 1 but haven't yet), Jeff tries and tries to impress the professor by "seizing the day"...only when Jeff is in the professor's presence! It's so contrived, it's unbelievable. And finally, Britta (Jeff's romantic interest/friend on the show) helps him "seize the day" by pulling him into a passionate kiss in the middle of the quad. The professor sees, and gives Jeff an "A" for seizing the day.

Ok, now by this point, you're probably thinking, "So what? Where the hell are you going with this?" And I admit, it seems a little silly to go into such detail. But this aligns SO much with my life right now! In my life, I see Jeffs, and I see Brittas. And, I admit, for the most part...I am a Jeff.

It's not that I don't like being spontaneous, or doing random things, but for the most part, I have a lot of responsibilities. Welcome to the real world: being an adult, and making commitments. Although I was likely more of a Britta in high school... since I've started college, I've definitely become a Jeff. And, in a strange way, I think that's a good thing.

I can plan, and organize, things to a T. I can schedule and manage my time; when I want to do something, I follow through and make sure it gets done. People looked at my work/school schedule this past semester, and said, "You're a crazy woman!" And (while that is true, sometimes) I'd have to disagree overall. I am a Jeff. I plan to succeed, and the only way for me to do that is by keeping a schedule. I mean, if I "carpe diem'd" all day, I would not get anything done!

And, that's not to say that I don't enjoy being random in general. Why, just tonight I started looking at plane/train/bus tickets to go see a good friend in Pennsylvania. It's completely random, unapproved (though warranted), but I still allowed myself to do it, and am still seriously considering it. However, this is not the general way I live my life.

Although there's a lot to be said for people who do seize the day (they tend to have more fun, at least), I do think there's a lot to be said for the Jeff Wingers out there. Despite being cynical, crude, and sometimes a downright asshole, his heart is often in the right place. By that I mean, he's in it to win it (so to speak), and at the same time he shows a great amount of loyalty and caring towards his friends (that's awkwardly phrased, but it's 2 AM and I really can't think of how to say it better). I have a lot of reasons to thank my Jeff Winger personality. My Jeff-ness (haha) has allowed me to do things like:
-move out of my parents' house
-minimize tuition
-pull my GPA up over 3.7
-pull straight A's the majority of the time
-keep a steady work schedule
-find meaningful work in my field
-hold down 4+ jobs while still attending school
-take the maximum amount of credits in school (gotta get your money's worth!)
-build lasting friendships
-maintain close ties with my family (for the most part)
-build lasting relationships (ha, maybe still debatable. rather, build the potential for lasting relationships)
-commit, and follow through, with things like: hosting guests, attending social gatherings, attending family events, and so on
-write good lesson plans that a) have a timeline and b) are relevant, fun, and creative
-work the same job(s) for more than two years without having to quit, or without getting fired and/or laid off
-commit my time to a family (not just a student) that I tutor
-launch a successful social media campaign, and receive positive feedback from even the CEO of the company for which I work

And so on.

Well, let me pause here and reflect. Lately, I've been in a "poor me" state for the most part. What do I mean by this? Well, the month of June was particularly rough on me. I lost a lot, including a family member whom I will never see again. For the past week, despite amazingly happy developments in my life, I could only think about "the losses" I've "suffered." And now, in making this list, I can see that while I have lost significant things (people, opportunities, relationships, friendships, and the like), the amount of things I still have are so great in number. And, looking at this list, I have to stop myself and ask, "How in the world could you think, "poor me"? Because, let's face it, when it comes right down to it, I have a lot going for me right now. In addition to all that listed above, I'm also getting ready to start student teaching (yay 5th grade!), and getting ready to graduate next spring. Yep, that's about 10 months away right now--crazy, right?

So, while I'm not entirely ready to jump on the carpe diem bandwagon, I can say that at least what I do have is working for me, Jeff Winger style.

Long story short (I know, you're thinking "this is far from short!"--I agree), I'm on the edge of glory (if you haven't heard the song or watch the video--please do so!). It doesn't matter how I got to the edge, whether I seized the day or planned my way here. What matters is that I arrived. They say that life isn't about the destination, it's about the journey. While I agree that the journey is important, I also recognize that if you don't have a destination, you'll never get anywhere.

Because I don't want to leave the song hanging, take another look at it. Sure, you might think it sounds monotonous, like "just another pop song" or (worse) "just another stupid thing from Gaga." But look closely, at the lyrics (I'm going to take out a few repetitions--don't worry, if you listen you'll hear them):
Another shot, before we kiss the other side,
Tonight, yeah baby.
I'm on the edge of something final we call life tonight
Alright, alright.
Put on your shades 'cause I'll be dancing in the flames
Tonight, yeah baby
It isn't Hell if everybody knows my name
Tonight, alright, alright.

It's hot to feel the rush,
To brush the dangerous.
I'm gonna run back to, to the edge with you
Where we can both fall far in love.

I'm on the edge of glory,
And I'm hanging on a moment of truth,
Out on the edge of glory,
And I'm hanging on a moment with you,
I'm on the edge of glory
And I'm hanging on a moment with you
I'm on the edge with you
I'm on the edge with you

Sure, being that it's art, there are multiple interpretations, but here's mine (applied directly to my life, so feel free to disagree): I AM on the edge of glory, and that's a great thing. We all work towards some sort of goal, our own personal glory if you will. And, there comes a time in each of our lives when we are *so close* to it, we can feel it--we're right there. On the edge, if you will. And, it may be just one little thing to push us over the top. One word of encouragement from a friend, one bold action, one kiss or touch, one hater trying to bring us matter what it is, that's what puts us over the edge. Right now, I'm on the edge of glory. I'm starting my last year of school--student teaching will be what puts me over the edge, and pushes me towards glory.

And, I can't wait.

So, to my Britta friends, carpe diem. And, to my fellow Jeff friends... best of luck in reaching the edge.

Peace. <3. Happiness.


  1. The last paragraph of this reminded me a lot of the quote you have on the picture of you and your brother. Interesting how things can cross and be so similar without intention. At least, I'm guessing it was without intention.

  2. It was in fact without intention--I didn't really think of that until you pointed it out...and I agree :)