Now What?

After nearly four years of college I avoid absolute statements, so I’ll just say that one possible, important part of human life is patterns. They’re important to me, anyway, but that’s because these are the four most selfish years of my life, right? Or I hope so. I can’t say it follows that there’s a drive to make sense of one’s life from these patterns: time after time my behavior runs contrary to what I feel is the fiber of my being. So I forget and live; a cheap way to sanity.

I’ve fallen into a four-year pattern—high school and Central College are the latest cycles. Academic grind began with ninth grade. That is, school became transcripts, future opportunities, and impossible decisions instead of a routine between meals, television, and overblown social crises. By impossible decisions I mean those that require a grasp of yourself, your character, while at the same time you shudder at the person you were last year, and just as quickly next year’s version will shudder at you. That first philosophy course won’t help, either. (But stick with it. the second and third might.) With time the decisions become more impossible as you feel opportunities disappear, while all the mistakes faithfully drag down your G.P.A. or brand your ego.

The freshman to senior odyssey has defeated me twice, sapped my energy and spit me up without direction. At least an undergraduate degree followed logically after high school, but what follows logically now besides … life?

God forbid I should blame my apathy on the mood of these limes, but it’s so appealing, though nothing new. I’m too quick to embrace a downward spiral, or even search one out. Maybe it’s because the only TV shows I regularly watch are “Cops” and ‘The Simpsons.” But then I can’t get enough of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” either. I don’t long for a return of our stable, fabled 50’s post-war society, just its job market.

For the past three summers I’ve chalked ball diamonds and whacked weeds for a community school district — occasionally they’d let me play with the dump truck. Without sounding pretentious, I feel ready for a new, bigger and better challenge. (I did enjoy my deep tan and bleached hair look, though.) So why does my challenge lay in finding one? I’m now convinced that Bono is the mouthpiece of my gloom boomer generation: I do feel “Numb” in our zoo. “l have no compass/And I have no map / And I have no reason, no reason to get back.”

But there is a quasi-decision staring me in the face: the graduate school vs. job / real world dichotomy. If personal mitosis were possible maybe I’d take both forks and join up later to compare notes. Or, to dream, I might find that golden graduate school fellowship or benevolent employer willing to invest in my further education. Not that I’ve been able to choose a graduate school. A stack of journalism program applications sits in my room, but my mind has toyed with five different futures just in the time of writing this.

I really wouldn’t mind postponing the real world for a bit: I’d like to learn to balance my checkbook first. Since high school I’ve shunned the math and business world, and it seems that around May 20th I’ll begin to pay my dues. But fame and fortune will soon divorce me of these worries, just as soon as the world realizes what a genius I am; details will take care of themselves.

There will be one sigh of relief I’ll breathe upon graduation, for that diploma will automatically exorcise all my bad habits. No more of that monster nicotine. Fruits and veggies will fill my fridge. Exercise as a philosophy. At least eight hours of sleep a night. I’ll finally have time for all the writing, reading, and other intellectual side pursuits college life kept me from. And women will absolutely attack me.

But seriously, I plan to pursue my own personal land of milk and honey. I only wonder how many stars one should keep in one’s eyes for the chase. Milk and honey are apt metaphors because they’re fluids; you’ve got to bring your own container. I’ve some holes to patch up, brother.

So here I am, Kyle Munson. Central College English major and communication minor graduate. Wow. I can’t decide how to end this rambling mess, let alone plan my life, so to hell with it. I do have more Bono wisdom, but he stole it from Hank Williams: “These days run away like horses over the hill.”

Check back with me in ten years.

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