I hoped to end it “big”, in some way.
Kind of stupid.
As if the value of the whole is determined by this brief moment; the bangs and lights of a fireworks show before the silent darkness, the final scene that brings everything together before the curtain falls, the final credits crawling across the screen, the lights turning back on.
Before you know it you’re back on the street, back in the “real” world.
If only I had something left to say.
It doesn’t matter, more words will come.
The end of a chapter doesn’t say anything about the finale of the story.
Let’s first see what the story is.
Not everything has to be beautiful; that makes it even more beautiful.
Almost two years ago I started writing while I was on a trip through Scotland and this was what I wrote on the last evening before going back home. Obviously the above was inspired by me coming to the literal end of my travels in Scotland, but also symbolically reaching the end of my introduction to writing. Now that I have reached the end of the academic year, it seemed fitting to refer back to this part of my personal project since I am actually reaching several endings: the end of my time as a board member for Writer’s Block, the end of my time as a student, and going along with the latter is the symbolic end of an era, which is most easily explained through concrete lifestyle choices and habits which should come, and are coming, to an end (I hope). I spent a long time thinking about this final article, what it should be about and how to shape it. Since it is my final contribution to this platform I decided that I’ll just do what it is I’ve been doing from the beginning: to use this platform as an outlet for personal thoughts and experiences which don’t contribute anything substantially and/or qualitatively noteworthy.
The biggest problem I had to deal with in my writing has been knowing what to write about. At the start it didn’t really matter, because I went into it with the mindset that it didn’t: I would just write whatever came to mind. There was no word count, no qualitative standard. The funny thing is that I had expected it to be quite a struggle, never having tried writing before. It turned out that this personal approach worked perfectly for me. Since whatever I wrote was just meant for me, for my eyes and a few friends (so far only two other people have read a couple of pages), meant that I was able to write whatever without worrying too much about it, which meant that there were no restrictions, no ideals, no expectations and most importantly no judgments. Writer’s Block was the challenge I set for myself to see how I would react to, or perhaps cope with, some of those aspects becoming a part of the writing process. As I expected, it has been (and since I am not finished yet, still is) quite a struggle. Having deadlines, word counts and other people to measure yourself with, creates a certain pressure, as it does in life in general. So with Writer’s Block I just tried to maintain the same approach as I had for my personal writings, which is also the approach I try to have towards life. It’s quite a cliché, but it boils down to this: just go with the flow.
That’s how I learnt to cope with my depression. It’s been a rough couple of years and I’m expecting a whole lot more. Because that’s the thing: there is no end to development. Not IN life at least. There are people that get stuck in their ways, thereby perhaps giving the impression that their personal growth has stagnated. But I believe there is still a degree of change going on there: with every experience, no matter how big or small, one becomes a new person. There is this famous idea, coined by the pre-socratic philosopher Herakleitos, which can be translated as “everything flows” (panta rhei). A statement that is often used in describing this is that ‘a man cannot step into the same river twice’. There are multiple reasons for this being so. The way I like to look at it goes like this: you are standing next to a river; a river you’ve never stepped foot in before. At this point, you can be defined as a person who never entered this specific river. Now: you step into the river and get back out. From now on, this river can no longer be defined as a river you’ve never stepped foot in. at the same time, you become a person that has entered this specific river. Both subjects, the river and yourself, change in this example, becoming something they weren’t before. Even if the change seems so radically unnoteworthy.
What I’m trying to make clear is that no matter what you do, no matter how it seems, change, development and growth, whether they are regarded as positive or negative, are inescapable. Why exactly am I saying this, what’s my point?
Well, what if there is no point?
I guess I’m simply trying to say that no matter what happens in a person’s life, that person is subjected to life and is influenced by it. So, why not try to grow acceptance and live in harmony with it?
“Ok, sure, but who gives a shit? Why are you bringing this up? Who asked you?”
No one, but you don’t have to be such a dick about it.
When getting to the end, whatever kind of end that may be, it seems fitting to reflect back on the beginning. In my first article for Writer’s Block I talked about my journal, my introduction to writing, and the first line I wrote was: “Am I an adventurer?”
My answer today is the same as it was back when I was writing that article: I am and I am not. Apparently a definition of “adventurer” is “a person who enjoys or seeks adventure” (I love the or in that sentence). The definition I found of “adventure” is “an unusual and exciting or daring experience”. And here we have the problem that studying philosophy saddled me with: how do you define unusual? What is usual? Is it either an unusual and exciting experience, or a daring one? Or is it an unusual and either exciting or a daring one? What do those words mean? (And again, what’s up with the or in the first definition…?) And so there are a lot more questions we could raise, but let’s be honest: it doesn’t matter.
This past month, since I handed in my thesis, I’ve been taking a break from a lot of things. I wanted to feel the freedom of locking myself up, doing nothing, being free from commitments. Probably, partly, because I wanted to procrastinate on committing myself to “the real world”: that “grown up adaptation of life” that you’re supposed to dive into when you’re done with your formal education. And guess what: I only just managed to sort of get the hang of being free and now I’ve reached that point where I should get the fuck out of the theatre. I have to go live my life. A part of me is scared about that, a part of me is excited, another part doesn’t care.
So, am I an adventurer? Sure, just as much as I’m a featherless biped.