Monday, November 14, 2011

The Triple Ten

I've meant to write this post ever since the 8th. It's one of those reflective posts.

The year 30 is something of a mile-post age. I mean there's no inherent magic in a number, it's just another digit. But it does provide the opportunity to look back on things and see how things have changed.

I look in the mirror, and here's what I see:

-White hairs. They aren't that prevalent, so fairly inconspicuous (to anyone but me). I confess, every now and then I grab the tweezers and pull a few of them. I can't help but think I should wear them proudly, but my vanity still wins out over my aged wisdom.

-The healthiest version of me I've seen in decades. I seriously have more muscle and less fat than I can ever recall having in my life. I think that's almost the inverse of what one might expect from another single American dude of my age.

-Youth. I'm constantly reminded by the youngsters on this campus that 30 is the age of decrepit geezer-hood. I think that is a very relative judgment. I know that almost anyone else would look at the age 30 and would love to be that young. The truth is, I don't feel old. I feel young, vibrant, and energetic. I usually let the number be untold and let my youth speak for itself. Maybe I should also point out that my actions denote a less-than-mature individual. But I can't help that.

I thought for sure that I'd be graduated and moved onto the next stage of my life by this age. I almost made it, and that's close enough for me to be content.

Another measurement is my single status.
I helped lead a field trip to the Grand Canyon last weekend, and all the students assumed that I was married. That came as quite a surprise to me, and it shocked them all to hear that I was indeed unmarried and (gasp) single. I know that this may evident the need for reprimand, but I'm going to say it anyway: I love my life. I'm really glad I'm still single and have the freedom to do things that married folks only think of doing "someday". I don't care if people call me a "menace". I'll smile, not able to subdue the thought that they're at least a bit jealous. It's not that I would shun the amazing opportunity of a blissful companionship. But it hasn't happened and life is still awesome.

I'm not a conventional person. While I know that convention is formed on the basis of hard-earned wisdom, I can't help but question it all along the way. Humanity is composed of the widest spectrum, and we're supposed to all fit into one societal norm of convention? Sorry, but I like to think of convention as more like guidelines. Life is far too dynamic to restrict it to the rigid expectations that have been laid down by society. That's not to excuse behavior that is out of line, it's just reality, and I find it fascinating. It brings color to life.

I'm also aware that I'm not as conservative in my views now. Life experience has taught me that I should be more objective in my approach to life.

That's how I view myself at this stage. It would be fun to know what other people see. Not their modified opinion that would be suitable for sharing, but their honest view. Not that it would necessarily (I spelled that right on the first try!) change my view, but gosh people are interesting.

Thanks to all of you who have helped me survive to this ripe old age and helped to shape me into the guy I see in the mirror.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I know I've had a lot of back-and-forth talk of graduating and the possibility of one more semester. I'm sorry the story changes so frequently. The truth be told, I want a simple solid answer too.

But here's the real situation, and I'm really just swallowing all sense of pride to disclose it to you:
I'm not going to be able to graduate in December.
Before you say "Oh NO!!!" just keep in mind that I'm not freaking out over it, so you shouldn't either. Let me explain. No, too much. Let me sum up.

I spread myself too thin this semester. I hate to admit that, but current grades and my stress levels are firm evidence that can't be overlooked.

I have very good instructors, and I feel I've learned the concepts in class well, but as far as keeping deadlines for homework submission, I have failed across the spectrum. My exam scores are high, but that's not enough to counter the point deficit indicated by my grades. That's one thing I really hate about school: when busy work takes precedent over learning. The learning is happening, it shows in my exam scores. But the busy work dominates my agenda, forces me to rush, and utterly decimates any chance of long-term retention of any of the concepts I'm learning.

Long story short (too late!), I am (and this is final) coming back for one more semester. Here is the silver lining in that dismal blotch of water vapor:
I already have financial aid awarded for one more semester that would be forfeit if I were to graduate this semester.
And I have a break from January to April before I'm scheduled to come back to school.

So my GPA has suffered, my pride is laid out on the table for everyone to mourn prior to its graveside service, and I continue on: learning as much as I can from my classes and not giving a hoot in Hell of a damn about busy work.

The plan for my off-semester? Arizona, Flagstaff, living with my best friend Jay, working, and enjoying time near enough my family and friends to visit often.
Oh, and by the way, thanks for those of you who made an effort to make me feel loved on my birthday. I had a great day!

The Status of Things

I just got back from a paid trip to Arizona. Okay, so it's not quite that glamorous; I was helping lead our physical geology class on a field trip to the Grand Canyon. I had a great time, but it snowed on us Friday night and was below-freezing temperatures for most of Saturday. All in all, it was an awesome trip. Here's the bad thing:

I wanted to stay in Arizona. I have 6 more weeks of school left at BYU-Idaho, then I graduate. And a trip to Arizona at this point made me want to be done even worse than before.

I am kind of freaking out at this point. I'm completely focused on post-graduation details and care almost nothing about my current classes. They have nothing to do with geology, and I am just hoop-jumping at this point with the end so close I can almost taste it!

Not only does Arizona call my name, but its allure is magnified by the prospect of the holidays with my family: a holiday I don't have to come back from.

But that also means big life decisions and grown-up living. That scares me some. I think the excitement outweighs the fear in this case, and that's an encouraging thought.

What should I do for Thanksgiving? They're only giving us a part of a week off, so there's no point in traveling home, just to turn around and come back a few days later, especially when the end of the semester is only a few weeks after that. I have friends who are staying in Rexburg, so if I stick around I'll be in good company.

So that's it. I'm freaking out. Wanna freak out with me?