Absolutely Remarkable Things

This isn’t a book review, by the way. It’s more of a life review?

Anyway. A million years ago (…10, I guess, in retrospect) my friend introduced me to the YouTube channel Vlogbrothers, starring Hank and John Green. I got super into them, watched every video, and John’s book Looking For Alaska quickly became my favorite.

Then The Fault in Our Stars came out, etc.

Anyway, the other brother, Hank, just came out with HIS first book, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. To be honest, I wasn’t going to read it. I’m kind of over watching their videos–they’re aimed at a younger audience, which is fine, but it’s just not my thing anymore.

However, that friend (who introduced me to them 9 years ago) and I recently reconnected after like, a five year separation (I started dating her ex, we went to different colleges, then ended up back in our old home town). And she had an extra ticket to An Absolutely Remarkable Tour, the book tour starring the Green brothers. So I went.

And it was great, and weird, and everything I knew it would be, being a stage show put on by two incredibly famous middle-aged YouTubers. And the book (so far) is pretty good, too, but that’s not my point.

As the Greens were talking about how strange and complex and wonderful the world is, and the internet and books are, I began thinking about how strange and complex and wonderful it was that I was in that theatre at that moment. All the things that had to happen to bring me there…I had to pick the cello as an instrument in third grade, I had to stick with it and be just good enough to be my friend’s stand partner in middle school, I had to like Vlogbrothers and fall in love with John Green’s books and let them influence my own budding writing, I had to go to the same high school as her, and watch her break up with her boyfriend and consequently (a year or so later) start dating him myself, then go to a different college and then reconnect and then have her current boyfriend-fiance bail on her extra ticket, then be free on that day and then bam, there I was. In a theatre with this friend and these YouTubers I’ve known for a decade.

That friendship had become inextricably intertwined with the Vlogbrothers, and my loss and reconnection with both my friend and Nerdfighteria mirrored each other in an absolutely remarkable way.

It just goes to show the crazy weird coincidences that happen every day.

things i never told you

Basically, here’s a little tip about blogging–we don’t do it every day.

Haha, right?

I used to, back in the golden days, but now I write ten blog posts at once and schedule them a month in advance. I’m writing this on June 22 and it goes up July 15.

I don’t know why I’m breaking the glass for you like this. I have learned that sometimes it is best not to see the man behind the curtain. Sometimes it is best to not research clouds and flowers. Some things are better left a mystery.

Whatever.

By the time you read this, I have come home from Ireland, a trip I haven’t written about here at all, and have started teaching summer school, something else I haven’t written about. I’m a summer school teacher now. I’m home from Ireland, now.

What will things be like when this gets published, in 23 days? My life, once again, will have completely changed. It does that a lot, nowadays. Perhaps, though, I am due for some consistency. I have been offered a job: to long-term substitute an English class while a teacher is on maternity leave.

I’m so excited. I’m so terrified.

Before I have time to be scared of that, though, I have to be scared of teaching summer school…but, by the time you read this, I will have already taught half a week, so. Maybe it’s not so bad after all. I mean, I’ve already done it.

 

I want Ireland to change me like Norway did. Norway healed me in ways I didn’t know I could be healed. I want Ireland to not just help me heal, but help me thrive. I want to be able to fill my lungs with Irish air and fill my stomach with Irish beer and feel a sense of comfort and adventure and peace.

Why is it when I most want peace, I throw myself into a maelstrom?

The first time one of your friends gets engaged

Wow! Pow! Kazam! One of my good friends is engaged. Wasn’t I just on here like, yesterday saying I felt old? Well. I continue to feel old.

Here’s the thing. Weddings are in the air, I’ve been saying it for weeks now. My aunt is getting married, and as a bridesmaid (and my mother is the maid of honor) I’ve been pretty involved, doing all the necessary swooning and dress testing that is required of me. Thinking about weddings so much had inspired my boyfriend and I to start speculating seriously, for the first time, getting married ourselves. In a few years, of course, after we graduate and live together for a bit.

But now–now! My 21-year-old friend is engaged, and has set a date–for June!!! He’s getting married in three months. She’s not even pregnant. This is just what they want to do, and the thing is, we all support him. He’s not even being so crazy. He’s graduating in May, why not, right?

Marriage doesn’t mean much nowadays, so why not just do it for the benefits? If you’re planning on long term anyway, and love each other anyway, and are living together anyway, and own a cat together (like they do) anyway…

 

How am I so old that getting married seems like a normal thing to do? A bit early, sure, but nothing crazy. What!?

 

I’m happy for him. I really am. How surreal. How surreal.

Stages

Obviously, there are life stages. Teen years, puberty, middle age, and so on. However, I submit to the jury that there are several smaller stages that fit arbitrarily within these stages, regardless of age. Perhaps most prominent and widespread is the stage where you wore black and listened to metal and were mad that your mother wouldn’t let you dye your hair.

In my experience, many people go through an “atheist” stage. It makes sense to question one’s beliefs now and then, but that’s not what I mean. I’m not talking about a healthy time spent in philosophical thought, I’m talking about those three or four months when people turn into super atheists.

I went through it, as did many of my friends. Thankfully, I grew out of it, and even retracted many of my atheistic ideas, settling on a firm stance of “I don’t know.” Now, I like to learn about and explore all types of religion, but in my atheist stage I couldn’t stand it.

There’s also, for the younger generation especially, the Social Justice stage. This one has always been around, but it’s especially spread with the advent of social media. Whether they’re called social justice warriors or tumblerinas or whatever, many people go through a time where political correctness and open mindedness are their top priority.

Are people who are like this bad? No. Can these things be stages? Absolutely. I went through both. The best part about these stages is that you tend to get highly invested in them, and then they fade away, leaving only a small mark on you. I’m glad my stages happened, because now I have a wider lens with which to look at the world.

They’re not bad things at all. I had a healthy eating stage, and a reality tv stage. I had a Buddhism stage, an anti-Kindle stage followed by an e-book stage, an all-natural stage, a gym rat stage, a musical stage, and numerous stages where I questioned my political standing, sexuality, job goals, relationships, and general future. And all of these stages, these short-lived obsessions, affected me positively afterward in one way or another.

I love when I can recognize someone in a stage that I had already passed through. Oh, you’re in the stage where you think any song released after 1970 is crap. Been there. And look, that’s the stage where wearing sweatpants every day didn’t feel gross. I…kind of wish I was still in that one.

It’s sometimes said that people can’t change. How wrong that is. Stages are proof that people change. We try on different hats to see which fits best. We get to choose different facets of our personality and change how we are seen by the world. That’s amazing!

It’s hard, when you’re in a stage, to tell if it’s a stage or not. Is blogging a stage, for me? Is sign language, is biking? I suppose any new interest could be a stage. Alternately, it could become a permanent part of you. The best part of life is its uncertainty. Embrace uncertainty, and embrace your stages with reckless enthusiasm.

Better to have several hats you don’t wear anymore than no hats at all.

This too shall pass

I told someone last night that because yesterday was such a good day, today would likely be terrible. I was right.

Maybe today is only bad because I expected it to be, like when you assume a new food will taste bad and it does, but the things that have gone poorly since I woke up about five hours ago are so many and so monumental that I would have a hard time accepting it was all placebo.

Beyond having several things go poorly at work and during the drive in, I also found out someone very close to me in my personal life had been lying and hiding something from me for over a year and a half.

It’s times like these that I ponder what makes the universe tick. Is life truly all a random smattering of events, strung together loosely and caused by nothing but atoms bumping into one another? Or is some higher power pulling the strings, throwing this or that at us in strategic ways?

Sometimes I feel like a science experiment. What happens if we give her one extremely busy week followed by a week doing next-to-nothing? What happens if we make everything go right for twelve hours and then make everything fall apart?

Maybe it’s karma, or some other balancing force that operates on rules I’m not accustomed to. The problem with the theories of higher power or experimenters or cosmic forces is that I feel too unimportant for them to care about me. What would an all-powerful force want with me, anyway? An introverted blogger who spends too much time in front of a computer writing about herself is hardly an interesting subject.

I don’t know. I’m having a hard time focusing. When I’m feeling down I always write these deep, existential blog posts about what the meaning of it all is. Like the one about how there’s never a happy ending, life just keeps happening. Or the ones about how I feel overwhelmed and anxious so often.

I guess what I have to keep in mind is that this too shall pass.

No one ever uses that phrase on happy days, do they? Happy graduation…this too shall pass. Congratulations…this too shall pass. But it’s no less true. Everything passes. Things happen, and then they end. Nothing is forever, which is both comforting and terrifying.

This too shall pass.

//

Full flavored faces are gone.

Wrong.//Shark attacks lasting a week

Long//Children are growing up tall,

Strong//Lullabies turned to a work

Song//Grass stains on knees ice cream in

Hand//Careers fighting fire are half

Planned// Strapped to a chair once you can

Stand//Plucked from clouds sewn to the

Land//