August 28, 2003
After the boys of Summer are gone
You are now reading my last entry as a free man. I will moving out of my mom's house and back into the University of Minnesota dorms over the weekend, and I begin my Junior year of college Tuesday morning.
One of the things that I am always confused about is how people I know, people I respect and admire, can tell me with a straight face that they enjoy school. I just don't get it. Ever since I can remember, I have hated school. Whether it was elementary school, junior high, high school or college. There weren't more than maybe 2-3 days every year when I woke up happy that I had to go. Heck, in my last year of high school there weren't many mornings when I went...period. But that's a story for another day.
I don't mind the social aspect of school and I really don't even mind the academic part of it. What I hate is that I have to wake up early every morning and do something I have no real interest in doing, and I have to do it over and over and over and over again.
Now, you might be thinking that I sound like some dumb kid and...well, you'd be right. After all, getting up early to repeatedly do something you have no interest in doing is what many people call a "job." My mom gets up every morning at 6 am and is at her desk by 7:30, ready to put in a 9 or 10 hour day, and she's been doing that for the better part of her life. That is very admirable and it is the reason I have had such a nice house to live in this Summer. At the same time, that lifestyle is not for me, or at least it is not for me right now. I don't know what to say, other than I guess I am just not the type of person who responds well to having to do something that I don't enjoy, every day of the week.
It is for that reason that I become extraordinarily depressed during the final days of August each and every year. The only difference this year is that the end of the Summer sort of snuck up on me. Usually I spend the last couple of weeks of Summer dreading the inevitable start of school. For some reason though, I have only started to become sad about the end of Summer during the last couple of days this year.
Every year since I have been about 14 or 15, people have asked me what I am going to be doing or what I have done during the Summer. And every single year, I tell them "absolutely nothing." This astonishes people and I often get a reaction that borders on pity, as if they think doing nothing is something being forced on me. But I love doing nothing, and I especially love doing nothing during the Summer.
Take this Summer for example. It has been perhaps my most empty Summer yet. I don't have a real job, I haven't been on any extended trips and I have essentially been a bum living off of his mother for the last several months. Yet, I would have a hard time thinking of anything better.
I go to bed late and wake up later. Maybe I watch a little baseball or play a little Playstation. Maybe I take my dog for a little walk or maybe I read the newspaper. Maybe I write a new blog entry or talk to one of my friends. Or maybe, if I am lucky enough to be able to, I just go right back to sleep.
Now, I understand that this lifestyle is not one that can be realistically kept for any substantial length of time. For one thing, if this went on for more than 2-3 months at a time, I think my mother would kill me. For another, at some point there would have to be some income coming in, which would likely require at least a few changes in routine. So, I know I have to stop doing (or not doing) what I've done during the Summer, but that doesn't mean I have to like stopping.
In addition to having never enjoyed any level of school, I have always had a very hard time adjusting to new things. I suspect those two qualities blend together to cause the depression I have at the end of each Summer. It shouldn't be that way though. I mean, for one thing, this is going to be my third year at the U of M. I am at the point that I am used to the academic expections, I am used to the whole living on my own thing, and I am just used to the overall routine of living on campus and going to school. And yet I dread going back just as much as I dreaded going to college before my Freshman year. Whereas then I was afraid of the unknown, now I am fully aware of what I will have to do for the next 8 months, which is even worse.
I have written about school and said similar things to what I am saying right now in the past, and I have received a ton of email from people telling me that school is supposed to be fun and that it is the best years of my life and that it is important and all that other stuff. I understand what those people are trying to say, but there is not a bone in my body that either agrees with it or understands it.
College is, as almost everyone will tell you, supposed to be for learning things that will help you in life. For me, it is certainly about that, but it is also about getting done with school and moving on in life. I want to finish college so that I can hopefully find something in life that I enjoy doing, and then do that thing for many years.
There are millions of people in this world who went through college and are now working at jobs they hate. I feel extremely sorry for these people and I want to do everything in my power not to end up like them. I simply cannot imagine spending a massive part of my life in a job I hate. I cannot imagine waking up each morning for 30 or 40 years to go work at something I take no enjoyment in whatsoever.
Right now, that is what college feels like for me, and school in general has always felt that way. The only reason I am able to get through it is that hopefully, at the end of the rainbow, is the possibility of a job I enjoy. Something that I can wake up every morning and feel excited about doing.
I typically don't write new blog entries on the weekends, so it is very likely the next time you hear from me I will be living in a very small room on the campus of the University of Minnesota. I will have moved all my stuff into that room, I will have stood in line to buy books at the bookstore and I will be getting ready to embark on yet another year of school. I'll probably also be pretty depressed, so if you're going to send me an email between now and then, you might want to make it a nice one.
Of course, this blog will continue during the school year. I will write a new entry every weekday, just as I have for the past year and change. It'll mostly be about baseball, but they'll be some stuff about my life at school and they'll be some stuff like this entry, simply me spilling out the contents of my head onto the page. I hope you don't mind, because...well, I actually enjoy doing this, perhaps more than anything I have ever done in my life. And certainly a whole hell of a lot more than going to school.
Have a good weekend. See ya Monday...
Nobody on the road
Nobody on the beach
I feel it in the air
The Summer's out of reach
Empty lake, empty streets
The sun goes down alone
I'm drivin' by your house
Though I know you're not at home
--- Don Henley, "The Boys of Summer"
If you came here looking to read something about baseball and not me complaining about having to start school again, please feel free to read my other (100% baseball-related) entries from this week:
This Week's Featured Links:
Monday: Contractor Peon
Tuesday: Baseball Prospectus interview with Rickey Henderson
Wednesday: Batter's Box interview with J.P. Ricciardi
Thursday: Eisenberg Sports
Colorado (Vance) +230 over Los Angeles (Brown)
Tampa Bay (Kennedy) +250 over Oakland (Hudson)
Philadelphia (Millwood) -130 over New York (Trachsel)
San Diego (Eaton) +140 over Houston (Robertson)
Total to date: + 2,660
W/L record: 219-217 (1-0 yesterday for +110 with two "no actions" because the schedule starters didn't go.)
*****Comments? Questions? Email me!*****