How I Got Into Into It. Over It.

It’s wild how an album can grow on you. When you first stream it on your laptop, you don’t really get it; It passes through you. Damn those shitty speakers. But then maybe you give it another try, with headphones, in another headspace, in different mood entirely, at the end of the day when your thoughts seem the loudest. and holy shit. That album can change you; It slowly starts to steep into the fibers of your being and you find riffs and choice selections of words caught up in your daily thoughts.  It starts to embed itself into the soundtrack of your life, you start relating to it in a ridiculous number of ways whether it’s musically, literally, and/or thematically.

This could be any album, for you or for me.  I’ve had these feelings towards albums before but I can’t remember the last time I legitimately felt this way.  Currently, I’m talking about Into It. Over It.‘s ‘Intersections’. The album is stellar. It takes a couple a listens but you finally reach nothing short of an epiphany that Evan Weiss’ is nothing less than a humble genius. He is a brilliant songwriter, musician, performer, and storyteller – So much so that if you don’t look at him with some sort of admiration, respect, and/or envy I’m not sure you’re fully human.

January 2011, I went to the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn with my dad to see another yearly installment of the ‘Where’s the Band?’ tour featuring Chris Conley, Anthony Raneri, Matt Pryor, Ace Enders, and Evan Weiss.  I knew of the former four but not the latter.  He was a mystery.  Watching him open was one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever witnessed in my life.  His singing and lyrics so sincere, that FINGERPICKING, and what tuning was he playing in? Surely that wasn’t Standard E…And it wasn’t.  I’d never seen anything like it. Evan is very well known for using many alternate tunings. And that factor is one of the reasons why I think he stands out so much – He goes beyond the norm. And I like that. He caught my ear and made me a fan for life.

I tell people this doesn’t happen to me often; I don’t usually get blown away by opening acts, in fact I usually come in with very low expectations for the openers as shitty as it sounds. But I think we’ve all been conditioned to feel that way because how many shows have we been to where we’re impatiently drinking our drinks, having run out of things to talk about in between because the opener is taking FOREVER and preventing us from seeing who we really came to see! But when that sort of thing happens – when I am wowed, goosebumped, easily attentive, and feel that static electricity inside my body sparking with excitement I don’t take it lightly.  It’s only happened to me three times before: Once with Evan, once with Kevin Devine, and the other time with Balance and Composure.

That first night in Brooklyn after his set, I awkwardly went up to him at the merch table and bought a CD of his then latest record, Proper.  I then proceeded to half-drunkenly ask him questions about his guitar and the like.  He was the sweetest and answered all my questions with a smile.  I saw him again at a Chuck E. Cheese-esque venue in Montclair three months later where he played to no more than 25 of us as we gathered around and listened to him play, some of us singing along. Six months later, I saw him headline and play full band for the first time at Santos Party House in Manhattan a week before Hurricane Sandy with Hostage Calm, Cheap Girls, and The Front Bottoms.

This past Thursday, I revisited the place where I first discovered him – the Music Hall of Williamsburg – to see him play full band again, this time better than ever. I went to the show by myself, which I’ve never done before…EVER. It was slightly nerve-wracking to travel all the way to Brooklyn via train and subway but I did it. I’m actually pretty proud that I did it. When I finally got on the 12:40 AM train to go home, I put in my headphones and queued up ‘Intersections’ for the ride back.  It was a completely different experience than when I had streamed it on my laptop a few days before.  Something was different. Something had changed.  And I realized, it was me that was different, me who had changed. Maybe it was my tired brain finally relaxing after an exhaustive afternoon of transportation and an evening of the finest rock n’ roll.  Maybe it was the vodka cranberry I had, combined with the comfort of sitting down for one of the first times that night.  Maybe it was the curtained sadness in my heart as I looked up admiringly at the bands I saw that night and reflecting on what I was doing with my life.  ‘Intersections’ quenched my thirst, it opened my eyes, it kept me awake, and my mind racing.  When I saw Evan again on Saturday, I bought the ‘Intersections’ vinyl.

Like anything I say, I can only tell you what I know to be true based off my experience.  If this sort of thing has never happened to you, you may not understand. But to those who this has happened to, you know what I mean.  It’s some sort of calling.  Some sort of affirmation of the life and energy that exists within you.  When a song resonates, you feel it in your soul; that central core in the center of your torso. And you feel the electric sparks spread throughout your body.

Evan is a huge vinyl junkie. And because of that, I think he understands what makes a good record. He doesn’t live in or even associate with the Top40 concept of “singles” or sticking with the mainstream “sound”. All of that’s irrelevant and I think he knows it. And I’m glad he’s a musician who stays true to himself and his talents. His music really reflects his authenticity and as a listener, that’s all I can ever hope to ask for.  Keep it up, Evan.  ‘Intersections’ has unexpectedly found a way into my heart. All your hard work was/is worth it and I will probably support you and your musical endeavors indefinitely.

‘Til next tour –

Meaning vs. Experience

Some days I just want to be content with everything – Be genuinely content with everything and everyone.  But would that be me?  Sometimes I wish it were – just to be so easygoing and positive. Maybe that’s what I subconsciously aim for on a day-to-day basis – to be some likable creature.

I want to be thinner, less insecure, more savvy with everything.  I have this subconscious quest to learn everything, know everything.  I’m not sure if that’s healthy or not.  I’m sure the cons will eventually flare up. But nothing beats a content headspace.

Staying home for the better part of the past four months as been a wonderful blessing.  But as with the equilibrium of all things, there is a darker aspect to the half of the whole.  Once Commencement was over and I cried my eyes out for most of the day, I continued to stay firmly resolute in my heartfelt rejection of society – How it works, how it functions, what it revolves around, the types of people involved.  It broke my heart (and still does) to realize that after all this effort, all this hard work, blood, sweat, tears, and emotional turmoil this what it all comes down to: A job – A foundation for a life, for a type of future I do not foresee myself having because I can’t see past the end of the month, nevermind the next five years.  But throughout these past few months, I think I’ve slowly been coming to peace with it.  Joseph Campbell’s always in the back of my head, telling me to say “yes” to everything – the good and the bad.

So the past few days I’ve been diligently drafting emails and cover letters to send to six different companies.  I know there’s something out there for me.  It’s just my worst fear is to not utilize my fullest potential, to feel like I’m wasting my time, or not being a part of something great.  That’s what I want – I want to move mountains with no bullshit.  I want to mean every word I say and make every action count.  Joseph Campbell says it’s not really the meaning of life we’re looking for at all, rather it’s the experience of life we’re seeking.  And maybe starting now, I’m willing to search for a different experience – One does not require staring at the four walls of my house all day.

The 9/11 Syndrome

I live about 20 minutes from Newark, so give or take I’m about 30 minutes from Newark Airport. Everyday I hear planes fly over my neighborhood.  Everyday.  One’s flying over as I’m writing this now.  One flew over as I made the decision to write this, about less than 5 minutes ago.

I try not to watch much TV.  Most of it’s garbage anyway, I know.  But sometimes I get into these weird documentary obsessions. The retelling of history, a person, an era; It really gets to me, it really touches my soul, gets me to think about myself and the world around me.  I don’t know.  I love that stuff.  I think I always have.  Even in school I didn’t mind it.  I really enjoyed it when the teacher would put on a documentary.  But it’s when 9/11 documentaries come on, I get sucked into this black hole.

I got into a passionate discussion with my 14-year-old brother a few hours ago.  I had just started watching a documentary on the 9/11 Commission Report and was trying to explain to him how our government failed us that day; How the loss of innocent life is unacceptable in any situation and how it breaks my heart.  He asked me why I watch these documentaries, why I put myself through it.  I watched another one last night before I went to bed and my mom walked in and said, “Oh, I can’t watch those things.  I’ll always remember, I’ll never forget what happened.  It was a tragedy.  But I can’t put myself to sit down and watch those things.  It’s depressing.”  “Well, maybe we should get depressed about it,” I said.  Maybe we should feel something other than complacency.

I tried to explain to my brother the analysis that goes on in my head.  I was 10 years old when 9/11 happened and out of all the stories I’ve heard, my perspective still remains the clearer than anything. And that’s probably true with everyone because in times of crisis or mental trauma, that’s when our memory receptors kick in – That’s when the film starts rolling and everything your eyes touch and any stray emotion you feel become permanently ingrained in your memory banks.  But at 10 years old, you can’t process or even begin to fathom the actuality of the situation and what it means.  At that age, you’re still immature.  Hell, you haven’t even gone through puberty yet.  You’re a kid.  A kid who can’t see past recess, foursquare, and the 3:30 bell to go home.

Now I’m older, more matured, educated, analytical.  I watch these things and try to come to terms with where our country went wrong – The mythological idea of a country a typical 10 year old grows up believing is perfect and right and just and true and free.  I try to put myself into the shoes of an Al Qaeda soldier.  But the truth is, when I do that I can’t feel my feet.  Because I can’t fully invest myself in that temporary fantasy.  I do not understand the hatred and rage or the “death to America” sentimentality they feel towards us.  Maybe it’s because I’m still too young to understand and/or because my knowledge of American History starts to fade after the Kennedy years and I draw blanks about what comes after, what our country did, how the international community currently views us and why.  Maybe it’s because I know little to nothing about Al Qaeda, their cause, or their struggle.  In any case, it’s when watching these documentaries I am desperately trying to understand the viewpoints from all sides in order to come up with some logical explanation to what happened that day.  And it’s a struggle every time because I can’t do it; Logic fails.  Logic seems not to apply to tragedy and we are told to accept it as the transcendent horror that it is. Am I what Billie Joe Armstrong would brazenly call an “American Idiot“?  Maybe.  But maybe not as I am truly trying to understand.  Sometimes I feel my whole life is a Coming-of-Age story and it’s just one lesson after another.

See, I’m no stranger to trauma.  I was the first child born in my family – First daughter, first niece, first grandchild. I was showered with constant love and affection and got to know my entire family in a way that neither my four cousins nor my brother got to experience.  My grandfather emigrated to the US from Sicily in 1968.  He had bore three children with my grandmother – all girls. He had always wanted a boy, but as fate would have it – girls were in the cards.  I think he may have been hoping for a boy when my mom was pregnant with me but as fate would have it – another girl.  I have watercolor memories of spending time with him, laughing and playing with him.  Because both of my parents worked full time, I spent an majority of my childhood with my grandparents before I was able to be enrolled in school.  I especially used to love it when Poppy pushed me around in one of those red Little Tikes cars with the yellow roof.  Remember those? I think there’s pictures somewhere…

In the winter of 1993 my family was over Nonna’s house.  We were watching TV, talking intermittently.  I was sitting next to Poppy. And all of a sudden someone said something to him, and he didn’t respond.  It was at that time everyone looked at him and realized he was having a stroke.  At the early stages of my toddlerhood I still remember his wide open eyes as he sat next to me unable to speak, the panic that ensued immediately afterwards as the paramedics were called.  And right before my memory starts blurring, right before – I remember struggling with the little Italian I knew to ask him if he wanted a glass of water.  I didn’t understand what was happening, but at three years old, I could feel the tension and sense of panic in the room and was so desperately trying to communicate to ease his discomfort in the only way I knew how.  And it haunts me.  To this day it haunts me.  And everyday I think about it and every night before I go to sleep I try to erase it from my mind so I can sleep easy. And then I wake up again and it will cross my mind and I will it away before it enters again.  And sometimes I cry about it.  And sometimes I try not to cry about it.  I get tired blubbering to my mom, unable to speak because I’m so grief stricken over this toddler trauma I’m not sure anyone truly understands – I don’t even know if I understand it.  And I dream of him sometimes and I wake up crying; In the latest one about a month ago we actually spoke.  But the funny thing is, when we spoke it was just like that night – me trying to scrape together the little Italian to knew to ask him questions – stupid questions like, “How are you?”, “What’s your favorite color?” and “Do you like music?”.  He died soon after his stroke on a cold December day that year and I don’t think I’ll ever let it go because in my juvenile, naive state of mind  I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand why it happened or ever got the closure I needed – whatever the proper “closure” would’ve been to a three year old anyway.

In my heart, I connect this monumental, national trauma to my personal one.  There are parallels of paralysis – wanting to help but can’t, shattering of innocence, loss of innocent life; Vivid memories, crystal-clear emotions, each individual trauma a scar on my childhood, a mark on my youth that cannot be erased.  And maybe I’m obsessed with understanding.  In my entire 22 years of life that has been so dedicated to learning, maybe it is a habit I cannot break out of and every time I replay the events, I’m determined to find the answer; I’m determined to find out why it happened.  It’s the 9/11 Syndrome.  It happens every year, like the opposite of a holiday: We revisit the past in waking daydream states and unconscious dreams to try and fix the unfixable. 9 times out of 10 we believe with all our hearts that logic will lead to unbiased truth and when that truth comes, everything will be okay; It’s a flaw in the human mind.  It’s a cycle I feel I will never break out of.  My grandfather has been gone 20 years this December.  Windows on The World, where my dad proposed to my mom, is now only existent in memories.  And I will revisit these events in my head, listen to every heartbreaking story, and watch every heart-wrenching documentary because I am in a Catch 22.  For all the lives lost, I must remember; And if I can’t remember everything or everyone, I should at least try at my very best to see that I do.

In The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers, Joseph Campbell says throughout human history, you can tell what’s most important within a society by looking at the tallest buildings.  Obviously, churches and other religious structures were the tallest buildings at one point in time and that emphasized the importance of religion. But then there was the rise of modern architecture and skyscrapers and colossal business buildings.  Those are the tallest buildings in our society today – The buildings dedicated to the ebb and flow of corporate capitalism and commerce.

Joseph Campbell also believed in religion as metaphor.  I take his belief and apply that to reality as well – I believe that our realities speak to us metaphorically (indiviudally and as a people) and that it is up to us to understand them, so that we may navigate this life to find our appropriate path. (For more on my personal experience reality as metaphor, please see my Dragonfly post).  When the Towers fell 12 years ago, I believe that was a universal metaphor for the demise of the corporate world as almost exactly seven years later, Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, which began the avalanche of the most recent American recession which we have not fully recovered from.  As a nation, our trust in government and business was shattered.  And it is nowhere near being regained.  Once trust is broken, it is very hard to gain it back.  When you let someone down or a community down or a nation down, it takes a long time before they can look you in the eye again and take what you say at face value.   That goes for everyone, no matter their party designation, financial well-being, or societal stature.

On 9/11, I was very lucky.  I was not physically harmed and at the end of the day, my friends and entire family were unscathed, alive, and breathing. But as a human being where compassion is in my nature, is in all of our natures, I cannot help but relive the tragedy at least once a year.  It is a ritual I feel I must undergo in an attempt to comprehend what happened those people (and their families) who gave their lives that day less than 20 miles away from my elementary school, where at 10 years old, my world was suddenly changed forever. Emotions are a potent thing.  Sometimes they help more than harm and sometimes it’s the other way around.  But emotions can inspire us and lift us and propel us to make a better future for tomorrow.  We can aim our electrically charged dissatisfactions to accomplish something positive and great; There’s no need to be angry or hateful or complacent. We just need a positive attitude and clear head and the willingness to try.  Even if hurts, I will undergo the ritual annually. Eternity is always, future is everything.  It will all go on whether or not mankind is here to witness it.  And I prefer to stay until it is my time to go.

Freckles

A couple weeks ago I was checking the mail. It wasn’t a lot, far less than usual actually. But while thumbing through the letters, I noticed something larger than the others addressed to me.  What struck me as strange was the fact that I hadn’t ordered anything recently as I’m unemployed and without the ability to be frivolous with my limited funds.  Yet it was a large envelope/package addressed to me specifically and I could feel the contents inside; Definitely a book of some kind.  I found myself somewhat perturbed.  Is that weird? Even if it is, later on I convinced myself that it wasn’t as we currently live in a paranoid, skeptical, over-analytical culture full of distrust and suspicion.

After pondering for a few minutes as to what this could be, I opened the package and there did indeed contain a book inside.  Freckles by Eric Shaw.  The book and author were unfamiliar to me and the whole ensemble seemed pretty DIY.  For example, no ISBN number, Arial and Times New Roman font, and the author’s return address label was on the package itself.  No publisher, etc.  It wasn’t large.  Just over 100 pages with some black and white photos inside.  I even Googled the book and although you can find it in various electronic formats and order it from the author directly, there’s nothing giving it “mainstream validation” as in search engine results from Amazon, eBay…sites like that.

From a quick glance, the format seemed to be poetry or something along those lines.  I was pretty dumbfounded.  Who could have sent this to me? Did the author somehow have my address?  I asked friends and parents about it.  They were clueless as to who could have sent it and seemed just as flabbergasted as I was.  I went through bank and credit card statements, my PayPal history, and came up with nothing as to how I could have received this book.  Finding no conclusive answer as to how I received it, I decided to open it up and give Freckles my undivided attention.  But before I could, I noticed a note inside – Two pieces of printer paper folded in half and typed single space.  Essentially, it was a message of the author’s thanks and appreciation for purchasing the book interwoven with life’s reassurances along the lines of, “everything’s going to be alright”, “someone will love you”, “you’re here for a reason”.  I don’t know, kind of uplifting stuff that any unemployed, directionless college grad would want to hear.  Kind of timely stuff, you know?  I read it over 10 times before I actually read the book.

Now, this isn’t a book review but I have to say I did enjoy reading the quirky, honest poetry from this mysterious author that uninvitingly showed up on my doorstep.  If I understand correctly, all the poems were written at a point in the Shaw’s life when he had uprooted himself from his familiar surroundings, got lost, did some thinking, reflected on mistakes, and constantly kicked himself for the broken heart he was so positively sure he caused himself.  Truth is, Freckles would/will never get “mainstream validation” from a publishing company or anything like that because it’s too raw, too real, too imperfect.  Kind of like a human being.  I think that’s why I liked it.  It’s at least one of the reasons why I did.  It even kind of reminded me of myself in a way.  Not always literally, but thematically.  That’s how I relate to Hip-hop sometimes, but that’s a different conversation to be had for a different day.

Now in the note Shaw provided, he listed his email address and link to his Tumblr site urging for feedback, communication, contact, etc.  Still baffled about how I ended up with Freckles, I decided to contact him.  I wanted an answer and I knew this would definitely get me one.  Turns out, I had won something on eBay from him – something Saves the Day related. (I’m pretty sure it may have been the white vinyl OOP edition of ‘Through Being Cool’ I won this past December/January)  He told me he uses his PayPal account to handle his book orders and eBay stuff and must’ve gotten my address from eBay mixed up with the book orders.  A silly mistake but I didn’t mind it.  In fact, I found it very interesting and told him so, along with the story I’ve just shared with you.  I got the vibe (although I guess it’s always hard to tell via email/text what kind of emotion a person is really conveying) that he was embarrassed about it and if he is, I wish he wouldn’t be because in a strange sense I really am grateful.  A book was sent to me that I would have never discovered had this situation not happened in this way.  I would have never been aware of this book in any other circumstance.

It’s just another one of those universe things where things are (literally) delivered to you or happen to you without your knowledge or control.  It’s another message that I will probably hold on to for way too long and over-analyze until it’s lost all meaning.  It’s kind of a problem I’m trying to get over but unsure how to go about it, you know?  But if anything, I now have a cool story to share and a book in my possession that not many people have or even know about.

The world knows.  The world always knows what you’re going through, how you feel.  It senses your energy and orchestrates its place within the field of everything else out there.  I’m sure of it.  Whether you call it God, Allah, Zeus, Shiva, Yahweh, Jehovah, Buddha, Jesus Christ, or Mother Earth – It’s all the same.  It’s this all encompassing entity and science and magic fueled by hope, fear, love, hate, and faith that is beyond our imagination yet is constantly pulling all these strings and allowing silly mistakes to happen that send unknown books to our front doors.

You can order Freckles for yourself, here.

Thoughts On Graduate School

The concept of graduate school always makes me heated.  Anytime somebody brings it up in conversation I almost always find myself immersed in a passionate debate.  Despite my own insecure feelings about my own future at times, I think it just ticks me off because so I see so many people wasting their time with it.  Graduate school seems to have become a plan B for those who find themselves on a dead end street; It’s become a failsafe for a twenty-something who finds him/herself stuck in a directionless life.  But why has it become a failsafe? It didn’t always used to be that way.  Welcome to the 21st century, where graduate school has transformed from a place of high, scholarly pursuits to a cop out; A place to waste more time, borrow more loans with high interest rates while falling further into debt, spend three paychecks on books you’ll sell back for 25 cents each, and to sit in a classroom like you’ve been doing your whole goddamn life so you can get another overpriced, shiny piece of paper with a stamp, a seal, and some signatures.  What bullshit.

Now if you are going to grad school for something you love, something you believe in and are passionate about, my little blog post does not not apply to you.  …And if you fully believe in your quest for knowledge for whatever field you’re in, you should know that and know that my words are not speaking to you in the least.  Grad school can be GREAT when you know you’re on your path.  In fact I encourage you to pursue your bliss and reach for the stars!  Enjoy, soak up that knowledge like a sponge, and come out of there as a PRO.

The thing is higher education in general has gone to the dogs.  Probably because it has become the societal norm to attend college.  There are too many people enrolled in colleges and universities who frankly don’t belong there and classroom environments suffer because of it.  Aside from the fact that no one can live on minimum wage, it’s extremely difficult to accomplish anything in life without a college degree…or so we’re told.  The drop out geniuses do show themselves and the fruits of labor every once in awhile (i.e. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, etc).  College can prove to be a great experience but in all honesty, not all minds are wired to march to the beat of the intellectual drum.  Many do not do well within an academic context.  And that’s OKAY.  Or at least it should be.  Yet why does society say otherwise?  Don’t have enough money?  “Here, take out $30,000+ loan per year with 7%+ interest for 4 years.  Don’t worry.  That job you’ll get or that thing you’ll invent while you’re smoking hash in your garage will get you so filthy rich, they’ll be wheelbarrowing your money to your front door.  You’ll pay that off in no time.  You’re a smart kid.”  Don’t have a computer or books?  “Use your loan to pay for it.  Yeah, don’t worry about it.  By the time you have to make payments you’ll be working at some corporate office counting your stacks like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.”  Scholarships?  “What’s that?  Didn’t hear you.” THIS IS THE SYSTEM WE NOW LIVE IN. WHY?  We all know how ridiculous this sounds and I know many have experienced this first hand.  These are things I’ve witnessed are within an undergraduate context; Why on Earth would anyone subject themselves to this again?  We all know that for the most part the jobs aren’t there (unless you’re willing to sell your soul to some ungodly field in pursuit of a dollar), loan debt is a problem and then falls into a catch 22 in the “funemployment” world where you have $0 income, and scholarships (for the most part) are wasted on the dropouts and the ones who don’t care and drink their weight in tequila every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of their 4 year (or 5 year if their a supersenior) college career and end up looking like Mrs. Puff by the time they graduate.

The more I read, the more it appears that in the past college used to be a big deal; It was a way to heighten your intellect, learn, and go back into the world with your knowledge and put it to good use; And maybe if you’re really good, help make the world a better place.  I am ashamed of my generation because college is now an excuse to get away from Mommy and Daddy to obsess over Facebook and your iPhone, excessively drink, and sleep around with anyone who has a pair of legs. It makes me laugh though because all these Mrs. Puff lookalikes passed and got their diplomas just like I did.  At first that bothered me because I worked hard in school.  I always have and I don’t care how nerdy that makes me sound, but it’s true.  But then I reinforced the thought I’ve always had since high school that grades really don’t matter.  GPAs really don’t matter.  It’s what you get out of the experience what counts and that alone shapes who you become as a individual.  It’s what you can take with what you’ve learned and how you’ve learned it and apply it to your future, whether you’re employed or not.  I live in a materialist generation where everyone cares about the wrong things.  I wish I could persuade everyone to disconnect from their devices and put down their credit cards and persuade them to read again, things they’ve always wanted to read, philosophize and think and dream, to talk about art and music that’s not on the radio.  Maybe that’s my utopia or something.  But life’s too short to keep partying like you’re 18.  Life’s too short to keep playing Candy Crush and post Facebook statuses for attention.  Do something, make something, create something, teach yourself something.  Engage in conversation that’s not gossip.  What about Life?  You’re living in right now and you don’t even know it.  Put down the phone and marvel in the world before you have back problems and become bedridden.  Take care of yourself and stop destroying your body so you don’t die later on down the road when you finally decide that life means something to you.  By numbing yourself with technology and bullshit you are committing an act of the slowest suicide.

Graduate school will not fill your void but will only delay the inevitable.  Once you’ve achieved all you possibly can within an academic spectrum, you will realize the worst thing of all – That you have missed Life.  And you will realize all the things you made time for and thought were important only caused you anxiety, frustration, debt, and grey hair.  Then you will slowly fall into yourself and realize you don’t know who you are, who your friends are, what you’re doing here, and the job (if you end up finding one) you swore would provide everything for you and be the answer to all your problems, you will realize that that job is not enough.  And you will be older and feel the weight of time tightening its grip around your throat.

Now more than ever is the time to self-discover, read, and be alone for awhile.  To hell with the system we live in. Let us meditate on ourselves, learn as much as we can (without the burden of papers and tests), and shape the future to display positivity, togetherness, and love.  Those three things unite like no other.  Enough of chasing the broken American Dream that died with Gatsby, enough with ignoring our loved ones, enough with staying inside when the sky is so blue.  Let’s breathe and ask ourselves what our soul is really yearning for.  Let’s not suppress it with empty promises and the hollow shell of graduate school.