How Did I Become Myself? And Who Was I Before?
So, er... delusional thinking in history. Pretty crazy, huh? What's up with that? It's like... wo.
Which reminds me. Back when I was an undergraduate, that's probably how I wrote. I would have no doubt been qualified to contribute to Shit My Students Write.
The other day my son, who will be starting the fifth grade, was asking me when I started to enjoy writing. When I was in the fifth grade -- and sixth, and seventh... and twelfth, etc. -- I was just like him: I had no use for school, and I literally couldn't imagine someone actually enjoying it. I didn't socialize with those people.
That attitude stayed with me through my first stab at college, which ended when I simply quit going in the middle of my junior year. I was already on academic probation and would have been tossed out anyway, so I took matters into my own hands and gave up like a man.
Being that I've related this boring story before, I won't go into the details. But something began changing in me in my mid-twenties, and I still haven't figured out exactly what and certainly why. How can someone completely change like that, especially when not trying to? Rather, it just happened, as "organically" as, say, going from childhood to puberty. It's as if a switch were flipped. Or, it's like type 1 diabetes: one day you make insulin, next day you don't. Decision-wise, you personally are out of the loop.
But how could one be out of the loop of such a consequential life change?
Unless we have much less control than we realize, or that we only pretend to be the master of forces that are not only beyond our control, but unknown to us.
I don't know. Does "late bloomer" cover it?
Then again, there is the Call and there is answering the Call. I won't deny that there was a great deal of work on my end. I suppose the main difference is that what was once work suddenly became play.
No, seriously. Imagine my dilemma. I'm working in a supermarket. I'm lucky to make a good wage, but I am an unskilled laborer -- with the exception of nunchuck and bowhunting skills -- with no delusions that I am anything but. I am not conflicted about this. There is no part of me that thinks the world has misjudged me, or that I actually have some great skill or purpose that has eluded mankind. At best, I'm thinking that someday maybe I'll hate responsibility less than I enjoy drinking beer with my friends, but until that day...
But now it's as if I'm suddenly introduced to another side of me. Even so, for the sake of argument, let's say it's an "intelligent side." Now what? I've systematically ignored this side for 25 years, so it's a little like finding out at age 38 that you can throw a 95 mph fastball. That's nice, but it's a tad late for a career in the big leagues. Sorry, but that boat has left the harbor.
Thus began my cognitive rehabilitation. Fortunately I had no idea how much I didn't know, so I began reading far and wide in a completely haphazard manner, with no recognizable pattern. You know, like today. I knew I had a lot of catching up to do, but I had no practical reason for doing it. There was no plan and no goal. It was completely and utterly Impractical, and still is to this day.
Perhaps we should widen out the perspective and make this more general, especially because I just ran out of time. But what is change, what changes, and how does it change?