I don’t study at Kaldi’s that often. Something about the dichotomy of having a comfortable atmosphere but a dearth of outlets has always annoyed me.
But tonight, I found myself there at 9 p.m., feeling wanting. I was having a conflicted moment. My computer is at 10%, quickly dying, but I’ve already settled myself in one of the booths. The nearest outlet is quite far away. My charger won’t quite reach from where I’m sitting.
Great, I start thinking. I should never have come here. I don’t want to be in this position, where I will move and be less comfortable but for the sake of the greater good of my computer. I also know if I stay static, I will be left with no computer eventually, and maybe its dying will be detrimental in the near future to the computer’s overall health. And I will also have no means of being productive.
Right now, I either have the option of moving to save my computer and change my fate, and recognize it’s a small price to pay for being less comfortable in a new location. Or the option looms before me to sit here unproductively and watch my screen get darker. There is no “why not both.” I have to choose one option.
In a vacuum, I’d be able to have my cake and eat it too. I’d be able to do what I need to do to finish off the semester, in this comfortable booth, sacrificing nothing.
But life doesn’t quite work that way. Life is going to make you get up and deal with a reality in which your ass is no longer sitting on a padded cushion, but maybe that just means you’ll be able to be happier in the long term. Or life will keep moving, while you are left to retain the temporary but ultimately empty comfort of sitting where you are but maybe awkwardly realize that feeling of temporary comfort isn’t worth clinging onto eventually.
Either way, you always have to sacrifice something when you go through life.
I’m aware that right now, I’m trying to make an allegory out of trying to overcome laziness at Kaldi’s: sometimes, spending time resenting the reality you’re in is counterproductive.
I’m not good at accepting that we don’t live in an ideal world where any choice to take action or inaction comes easy. Because you have to make a choice, sooner or later. Life just forces you to choose to move in one direction, or it forces you to watch your circumstances shift without your permission. When you take action, you’re taking your consent back.
A friend of mine is studying abroad in Brussels next semester. I don’t necessarily want her to leave. Because it’ll be a while before I can count on seeing her smiling face in the j-school, and the time when I’ll see it again will be when the end of college is closer than ever. Cause I’ll go to Indianapolis this summer. She will possibly be in New York at that time. And then I will likely not be at Mizzou for the fall semester. And then, our paths will meet up again in a year, when we are finishing our 8th semester and on the road to graduation.
In a vacuum, she would stay here with me, and she wouldn’t be leaving. And her leaving wouldn’t symbolize that some things about next semester are changing. But the fact is, they are: I’m taking on a more advanced role at the Missourian (that may entail commuting twice a week), and I’m also setting goals to calm my emotions down and start taking yoga.
And I’m going to revamp this blog by talking more about what’s going on rather than what I’m feeling.
And Katelyn won’t be here.
But other things will be? I don’t know. Either way, I just remember one October night, I was sitting on her couch, taking in the full extent of my re-entry issues since the summer. She proceeded to sit next to me, listen to all of my problems, from the unremarkable ones to the remarkable ones, and then texted me pictures of motivational quotes in succession. We also set up an accountability system where I’d text her what I was grateful for every day, and keep track of good things that happened.
Her belief in me was touching, and was key in helping along all of the other intense realizations I’d been having all semester. At that point I realized that I could only depend on others so much to save me. But now I have to save myself. Now I can’t have people holding my hand.
She’ll be back in May for a few days, where we’ll inevitably meet up to chat. Maybe she’ll visit me in the fall. So it’s not like I’ll never see her again for the duration of 2016.
But when I think of the separation — when I think of the fact that I won’t walk the halls of RJI and see her smiling face — my heart just kind of crumples a little bit.
But here’s the kicker. We’re going to work harder to stay in touch now. We’re not going to let our ‘computer’ die. We’re going to take action to let good things — better things — come out of this.
We will be closer, she told me. Now we have an incentive to video chat on the weekly, be excited to catch up with each other because so many good things will be happening, and actually look forward to “hanging out” because we won’t take the other’s presence for granted. This past semester, we barely had time to hang out, so I didn’t even see her that often. Next semester, she’ll be thousands of miles further away, but we will be spiritually more connected.
If this is for the greater good, if this physical distance will actually strengthen her and my friendship, then why was it still so hard for me to not tear up while I sat in Kaldi’s, having coffee with someone I realized meant quite a lot to me? That’s because life shifts fast and it’s okay to feel weird about it.
If I didn’t take action, if I let things go, then I’m giving myself consent to feel like a victim. And that’s not conducive to letting good things in. We would grow apart because of physical distance. But instead, I’m taking action to better let good things ultimately fall into place.
Letting go of our friendship in its current state was going to pave the way to a better future. That is a beautiful thing. Letting go of the past habits and trying to look optimistically to what’s better, and what you could evolve into, is necessary.
Well, I’m a lot of talk. I’m not always action. But I promise, promise, promise to everyone — and especially myself — whether I’ve let you down or not, next semester I’ll show that I’m doing better. Rather than just saying I want to be. Yeah. Let’s start there.
… Either way, I should probably not let my computer die.
So now I’m sitting here, and I guess my ass isn’t as uncomfortable in its new position as I thought it’d be.