The Pendulum


This time last week, almost to the hour, I landed in Orlando after flying for the first time, took a Mears shuttle to the Orlando World Resort and checked into one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever been in (much less “stayed in”) to attend my first Excellence in Journalism conference for the weekend.

I’m not going to use this space and this blog post to go into details about my first conference and what I heard and experienced and enjoyed and so on; I’m just presenting it to set up the juxtaposition. However, a further staging point needs to be made: Sunday, only a short four days ago, I met one of my legitimate journalism heroes (I use that word loosely, as I try not to take idols, but I just respect his work greatly), Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post.

Then I came back to Cincinnati a mere five hours after that encounter and this week has been…well, the pendulum of life swung in a different direction. And I just find that pendulum swing interesting in a macabre way.

That sense where you feel you’re doing something you’re supposed to be doing, you want to do compared to the feeling of nothingness at the swing of a pendulum. (Although, even within that “high,” there’s still a low, which is weird and worthy of further examination at some point.)

It’s been a week where I’ve found it hard to get acclimated back to the grind of school and newspaper work and just…life. I was pretty proud of myself that so far this semester, I’ve only missed two classes (on the day I was flying to Orlando, so I actually had a reason), which, going by my previous attendance record in past semesters, is like Olympian levels of achievement.

I’ve actually been trying this semester. I got the books for every class. I’ve attended the classes. I’ve taken notes. I’ve actually studied. Much of which, I believe, is attributed to the proverbial light at the end of the education tunnel, i.e., unless my calculations are way off, I’m graduating in May, finally.

But it’s a rough game to say motivated, to keep pushing forward. Then it gets meta because I wonder if I’m only talking myself into the struggle and playing mind games against myself. What’s real and what’s not? What’s self-fulfilling prophecy and what’s a legitimate poison coursing through my brain matter? Is this just the normal machinations of a young person attending college or is this distinct (because of course, there’s always the worry that you’re classifying yourself as facing something peculiar, when, in actuality, attending college and facing anxieties and frustrations is normal machinations, but there’s a point at which it’s not normal, so where is that point)?

I’m rambling, which is what I tend to do since I don’t have the answers. I’m just musing. It’s so tangible, though. It’s not like this abstract thing that’s floating out there. I can quite literally feel the differentiation of the pendulum swing and can feel the “low.”

And those lows layer, like a mutated epidermis, over time. And if it’s couched in a meta worry over it being self-fulfilling and overreaction, then it layers unabated. And you — I — spend further time catching up to try to peel the layers back. But that’s a futile game, ain’t it?

Sometimes this blog is a selfish catharsis; it probably doesn’t make much sense to those not lurking in my head, but it’s a way for me to empty my thoughts.

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