So, the hell that has been my thesis proposal is essentially over. Getting mine approved took a few weeks longer than usual because I got FUCKING SANDBAGGED BY MY GODDAMN BOSS DURING MY PROPOSAL. But whatever, I’m (somewhat) over it now that I have a project that’s been approved by my committee. The project is damn near impossible and almost certainly not going to work, but it’s better than not having a project. I’m still going to have to throw out 8 months of research, but I still think things could somehow be worse.
For the first time in years I’m actually making time to have fun and meet people. I’ve been going on freaking boatloads of dates the past two months and am loving the chance to go out and meet new people. I do feel somewhat bad for the first half-dozen or so of the women I went out with since I was still just working out the awkward out of my system. Never going on a real date as an adult will do that to you. I was FULL of awkward. Like, to the brim. Okay, not that bad, but it wasn’t pretty. Sorry, first six or so ladies, I really am.
But even though research isn’t going well I’m not letting it bring me down since life in general is actually quite enjoyable. I still have a few friends who either can’t or won’t see the world this way and that is really beginning to rub me the wrong way. I’m just now beginning to realize that happiness is largely a choice for those of us fortunate enough to be in our situation. I mean we’re doing bleeding-edge medical research at one of the best freaking labs in the field, in one of the best cities in America, and we’re getting fucking PAID to get our degree. This is, of course, a very rosy view of our current situation, but it’s one that helps change a possibly shitty situation into one that is at least tolerable.
So, life is decently good and I’m happy. That is all that really matters right now.
There’s a challenge that’s been gaining traction lately to bring attention to malnourishment of those living under extreme poverty. The challenge is to live on just $1.50 worth of food per day for just 5 days. I pay more for coffee every day, but I feel this would be a good exercise to begin to understand just how bad millions of people across the world have it.
However, I want to kick this up a notch. I plan on doing the 5 days, but I really want to do 14 for a number of reasons. First, just to see if I can. I like challenges, and since food is remarkably important to me I would simply like to see if I have what it takes to not starve for two weeks while doing this. Second, I want to save money. I’ve been spending way too much the past few months and this would be a great excuse to not have to do that for two weeks (and I’ll drink less, which will be great for me). Finally, a forced change of perspective from time to time is never a bad thing. I already feel for the plight of the poor, but this may take me over the edge and finally do something to truly help them. Maybe. I am a piece of shit, so no guarantees.
When it comes to relationships of all kinds – family, friends, romantic – it takes a lot for me to become annoyed if the relationship has already been established. However, I’m human, and as such do have a few pet peeves that I have found can in the long run ruin my relationships. One of those mortal sins is the guilt trip.
Guilt. That ugly, base emotion we all feel at one time or another is never considered a good emotion and by its very nature shouldn’t be a common feeling. But when a friend uses guilt as a weapon to curry favor or force you into something a line has been crossed. This has happened to me numerous times in the past, but one of my lab mates has this line of “friendship” down to, well, a science.
Take Sunday night as a typical example. I went in to lab on Saturday to knock out an experiment early in the day so I could still go out and have some fun that night. I had WAY too much fun and didn’t wake up until noon Sunday. Needless to say, I wasn’t going to be making it into lab that day like I thought I would. No worries, I thought, I still have plenty of shit that needs to get done around the apartment, I needed to get a decent workout in, et cetera. Essentially, my way was full.
Enter Steven (clearly not his real name). He texts me saying he’s going into lab around 9PM and wanted me to come too. That’s fine and dandy most days since I actually like midnight recording, but I really wanted to get a decent night sleep and do what I could to get back on a quasi-normal sleep schedule so I played it diplomatically and said, “maybe.” I get, “so that’s a no. Sleep man. I would like some company. But I’ll be fine.” in return.
I know that doesn’t seem like much to someone else reading it, but it means quite a bit coming from this guy. This was him saying, “I clearly don’t mean as much to you as you do to me.” I don’t deal well with that type of attitude in any person, let alone someone I truly consider a friend. However, considering I’ve dealt with this type of passive aggressiveness before I’m willing to do it again to just push off the inevitable one more day. There are more pressing issues at hand.
Like getting laid.
I’m growing up and becoming less shallow.
It took long enough, that’s for sure, but I’ve finally come to the conclusion of the type of person I’m looking* for. It shouldn’t come as a huge shock to anyone who has ever been in a relationship but coolness is really one of the biggest factors you should use when finding someone you want to spend time with. Shifting to this from picking women based almost exclusively on attractiveness like I did in high school and college is actually quite the change for me, and one I like.
I began thinking about this a few months ago when my PhD program was interviewing candidates. It’s tradition that at the end of the two day marathon we take the candidates out on the town and end up at a bar where we unwind and really try to bond with the kids. We typically have three rounds of about twenty candidates each, and I typically do what I can to meet with each group at least once over those two day spans. This year I met with the first two groups and was extremely disappointed with the caliber of candidates, but a buddy of mine told me that the third group was, almost to a person, fucking awesome. Of course, I didn’t believe him, so I had to see this for myself.
We invited the group out to a bar where we were already having another celebration and I met the group. Needless to say, all of them I met were cool and interesting, but there was one stand-out even among a group such as that. That girl (woman? I don’t know what to call ’em anymore…) was just really cool , no way around it. The only thing is that she wasn’t exactly what me or my friends would call “attractive.” It didn’t matter for my two friends though, they both wanted to fuck her. They’re attractive guys too, so it’s not like they were just digging at the bottom of the barrel; she was just that cool.
That’s what cool does. It brings you in, and if it’s great enough it keeps you there.
That actually was part of the reason my marriage ended, and I’m finally beginning to realize that.
* I’m not looking in the traditional sense. I’m not crazy. I just got divorced, it’s time to shop around and play the field for a while.
There are two things I’m a total sucker for: love songs and “The Fountain.” I’ve known this for quite some time and was actually quite ashamed of it until a few years ago. I am not entirely sure why I was ashamed to be a sucker for these things, but it may have something to do with “manliness” or some other bullshit like that. This is ridiculous of course, and now I can unabashedly embrace my love for the idea of love.
This whole line of thought came about through the creation of a list of the ten greatest songs I currently own. It was remarkably difficult, but the one undeniable fact that came from this was that love songs are often some the best songs written by any particular artist. I don’t know if it’s due to the intensity of love and how it feels differently to everyone or what, but it is clearly some of the best song fodder of all time. This is by no means a novel observation and I don’t mean for it to seem profound, but it’s something that is nice to finally accept for what it is.
The love songs serve as a good transition into my feelings about Darren Aronofsky’s 2006 film “The Fountain.” I’m not even going to touch the artistic aspects of the film that make it such a masterpiece, but instead I am going to focus on the story and why it makes such an impact on me every time I watch it (which happens to be at least once a month).
Two things strike me deeply every time I watch The Fountain. The first is that I can realistically see myself as the main character, Tommy. He happens to be a scientist working on brain cancer research; the very same research that could cure his ailing wife. I could see that being me. Working endlessly, using all my intellect to solve an insolvable problem to the point of neglecting the very thing that drove me to work so hard in the first place. It was all Tommy knew, so he lost himself in his own work for the entirely selfish reason of not wanting to let go of the love of his life even though she was finally comfortable letting go. He took a commendable, yet self-defeating view of his terrible situation and reaped the consequences later on in the film.
The second thing I see is the most intense depiction of true love I’ve ever witnessed on film. Knowing the realities of my own history of love it gives me a depiction of what I aspire to have at some point. At the same point, the movie terrifies me greatly. You see, one of the most clear ways love was shown in the film was though moments of the most intense sadness. Desperation, complete despair, a total mental breakdown, and finally a single, unbreakable focus were what made Tommy the remarkable man he was in this story. What I fear is that I am simply not capable of having such intense emotions, and by extension can never feel the love he felt for his wife. I realize this is probably an unreasonable way to feel, but there’s something in me that keeps me from not rejecting it entirely. All I know is that I want to feel for someone the way that Tommy felt for his wife, Izzy.
Is that too much to ask?
Filed under life, marriage