Journal Essay for English.
|Thursday, September 1st, 2005
Benjamin Franklin says to be tranquil is, “to be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.” As I woke up this morning, I decided to work on this trait; however, I would soon discover that I picked one of the worst possible days to make this attempt. No matter how many times Marist may tell me to get all of my homework done on Wednesday nights, somehow a part of me will always reserve a piece of scintillating work for the rushed, Thursday morning activity period. Unfortunately, today Marist decided it would be best to tell me for the fourth time in my life to tuck in my shirt, spit out my gum, and don’t drink and drive at the annual handbook assembly. It’s not that I don’t see the overbearing, life-threatening, gravity of these issues, it just amazes me that the topics can be stretched out into a fun-filled, stimulating forty-five minutes. I couldn’t help but worry about my unfinished homework, so I closed my eyes and tried to remain ‘tranquil’. Over the past few weeks, a commercial has been airing for Delta Airlines’ newly updated website. It shows images of the most idyllic beach in the world, Makai- a remote beach in Maui Hawaii. I imagined this commercial, and calmed my worries.
After the assembly I felt better, I chatted with friends and the rest of my day folded over fairly smoothly. It wasn’t until later that afternoon, that I realized Benjamin Franklin was one of two things: a liar, or a fool. Cross Country practice, for me, had ended. I had a Biology test the next day, so my worries about having enough time to study for it were slowly piercing me. It was almost six o’ clock, so I walked down onto the field and nagged my sister. After ten minutes, I saw her walking back over to the student parking lot, and my nerves were calmed. Ten more minutes passed, and my fidgeting increased rapidly. ‘I’m on a white, sandy beach. I’m lying in the sun. I’m dipping my toes in the nice, cool, ocean water.’ I saw her car approaching and relief came over me. I turned around and grabbed my stuff. When I looked back, I saw her car completely pass me and wait at the red light line. ‘The sand is sharp! The sun is hot! The water is filthy!” For what has to be the fiftieth time in the past three years, my own sister has once again forgotten me.
Friday, September 2nd, 2005
Okay, I admit it. Yesterday’s attempt to be ‘tranquil’ didn’t exactly work out as I had planned- but that got me to thinking. Isn’t the entire point of life to endure the bad and welcome the good? Humans make mistakes, therefore, is it not impossible to be perfect? Benjamin Franklin lived in the age of reason, but did he honestly believe that he could actually, truly, wholly, become perfect? I strongly believe that Jesus gave his life for us so that we could enjoy our lives. Despite this fact, I can’t help but worry, panic, and worry some more. It is simply in my nature to be anal and neurotic when things need to be worked out or jobs need to be done.
When you have a group of eight friends who all want to go to Six Flags but none of them can drive, communication can be tricky. “She’s driving her and he’s driving them and they’re driving us but she can’t drive us because she’s out of town and he’s in a really bad mood. Can your mom drive?” My answer was loud, clear, and simple. “NO!” I walked away, but I was tranquil. I didn’t know who was driving, and I didn’t care. I was tranquil. Later, Jennifer walks up to me and says, “My Mom can take you and Melissa’s mom can drive you home.” A cheer erupts in my gut. What did I do? Oh, yeah. Absolutely nothing! – and everything worked out fine. I was amazed. I was intrigued! Something in my life worked out for the better and I didn’t worry or stress about it! ‘This must be what it feels like to be…my sister!’ With this new found attitude about life, I was happy. When I got home my Mom and sister were gone, so it was just me and my Dad. He dragged me over to the neighbor’s fortieth birthday party, and then we went out to dinner, where the waitress spilled water all over my lap. The old me would’ve jumped up screaming, demanding towels and cursing the goodness of the restaurant. The new me remained calm. As I was slowly wiping and being calm, something amazing happened. Something happened to me that I don’t think has happened in a very, very long time. I looked up at my Dad and I said, “At least it’s only water.” For the first time in a long time I looked at the positive side, and the waitress offered me free dessert.
Saturday, September 3rd, 2005
Today, I knew I would be doing community service, so I figured the trait I would work on would be humility. I actually came to realize that it involves many more things, including acceptance of responsibility. Just recently in my Religion class, we finished watching The Lion King. As everyone was sharing their views of this movie, I believed the main one to be acceptance of responsibility. When Simba runs away to the jungle and meets Timon and Pumbaa, he never wants to go back to The Pride Land to take his role as King.
Considering that I’ve only completed two weeks of school, it seems odd that Jennifer nagged me to come do community service with her already. I figured I might as well get it over with, and agreed to do it. The morning wasn’t that bad, but when we came back after lunch, I was extremely tired. Despite my fatigue, I had to continue standing up and folding clothes. I feel like I always have so much to do, and its no wonder most of my peers just give up and get Cs. I realize how easy it is to give up, especially under the hard, painful stress at Marist; however, I wouldn’t feel worthy of myself if I knew I could do better. I always try my hardest. Giving up is easy. Finishing a job and knowing you did your best is easiest. The world is my African Jungle, but despite the hot weather and thirst, I’m walking towards Pride Rock.
Sunday, September 4th, 2005
“Patience is virtue high, and that's certain” wrote Chaucer. Some of my views are normal, and some of them are abnormal. One of my weirdest beliefs of all is that on patience. Though it sounds weird, I don’t actually believe in patience-and I certainly don’t believe that it’s a virtue. I simply believe that all humans have a natural urge to get what they want, when they want. Patience is just who is best at restraining this urge. I suppose we could all work on this, but I don’t believe it’s possible to train myself to be naturally “patient”. This was especially difficult today.
“Let’s go on Mindbender!” “No, let’s go on Batman!” “What about The Scorcher?” “Everyone shut up!”. Today was hard to work on “patience”. Not really because of all the lines we had to wait in, but because out of eight girls at Six Flags, everyone wanted to do something different. It was really fun today, and very tiring walking around. I spent way too much money today, which is bad; however, I don’t think I really need to work on frugality. It was just today that I wasted money, and Six Flags is an annual thing. I also had to make sure everyone stayed together, because I wouldn’t want to lose anyone. At the end of the day Dorothy and I got Chinese and wolfed it down, where we had to do more waiting for the rest of the group. More than anything, what I’m doing right now is hard. I’m trying to concentrate while I write this entry, but my sister and my father are in the same room watching a show, and the volume is extremely high. Not to mention no matter how many times I tell my Dad that I’m trying to work, he WON’T STOP TALKING!!! “Sigh”, maybe I need to work on “patience” again tomorrow.
Monday, September 5th, 2005
Today was a holiday, so it’s unfair to say that “patience” was a large hump that I mastered. It’s like saying you want to do really well in school and then taking all the easy classes. It’s easy to tell myself that I’m going to do something, but actually bringing myself to do it is so much harder. I’m different from all of my friends. We all make good grades, so we consider ourselves nerds. We’re not ashamed either, we just laugh at ourselves. The fact is, most of my friends are naturally talented. This is primarily shown through SAT scores. Don’t get me wrong- they all work hard, but I wasn’t exactly born the prodigy child. I work extremely hard to get the grades I get. I have the SAT score of a monkey. Many students at Marist are born genius, but slack off and can barely make a B. Isn’t that a waste? Everyday I dream of being extremely intelligent, but my nagging ADD combined with lack of interest pulls me underground. Wondering is tunneling, and I have yet to see the light. Thinking may be powerful, but answers aren’t in sight. I guess I should just…keep tunneling…
Tuesday, September 6th, 2005
“The more we get together, together, together, the more we get together the happier we’ll be.” How can I be so relaxed and happy, but so vulnerable to the annoyances and aspects of my friends that I hate? I’m always like that. When I’m angry and upset, I find comfort in friends. I woke up today feeling okay. I felt calm and cool. After spending three minutes with my friends in the hallway before homeroom the song was, “The more time I spend with you, spend with you, spend with you, the more time I spend with you the crappier I’ll be!” Cynicism is such an easy resort. Most people consider this a bad virtue, and when it’s taken too far, it can be downright negative. The thing is, if you really know cynicism, and use it at just the right level, you can come off as quite intelligent. Cynicism is opinionated analysis backed up with facts. The problem is, my cynicism has been taken too far, and I’m turning into a really negative person. I’ve also become really selfish. I worked at my Dad’s office this summer- which is where I learned to be such a cynic- and I earned two thousand dollars. I’ve noticed that I’ve become increasingly reluctant to share, lend and give. It’s not that I want to be the next Jesus and be completely selfless, I just don’t want to be so selfish. Did that make sense? Sigh. “…For your friends are my friends, and my friends are your friends, the more we get together the happier we’ll be…?”