Come So Far/Got So Far to Go

Tomorrow is the day, the dreaded day. The series finale of Nightmares in Dissertation Writing. I will not share with what anguish the series was binged and with what agony each episode progressed, but here we are. I made it, and none the worse for it, I think.

I can say without reservation that writing this dissertation has been the most difficult thing I have ever done. Partially because writing a dissertation is difficult, but mostly because I have apparently gone insane this summer in such a way as to make doing work nearly impossible. Suffice to say that more than being pleased with the final product, I am pleased that there is a final product. In the same measure as I have been stressed, I am now overjoyed. Well, overjoyed might be putting it a bit strongly. But you know, relieved. In all honesty, though, I am really glad it’s over. It’s been a trying experience, to be sure, but it’s also been an adventure and it’s hard for me not to love adventures.

A major thank you to everyone who has supported and encouraged me, I am so very, very grateful. I honestly could not have done it without you. I love you all. And a special thank you to my incredible mother who, having read that I was missing my blanket, literally mailed it to me so I could hide under it when the need arose.

Now that I’ve got that covered, I wanted to say a few things about the state of the blog. I started this blog for two reasons. The first was because I was moving 4,500 miles to live in another country for a year.

So here we are, a year on. And that reason for writing a blog is close to expiry. I have one week left in Ireland. But I find myself wanting to continue writing. I’ve so enjoyed this blog, writing to you all about my doings and hearing back from you and just having a weekly chat with whoever feels like stopping by on here. I won’t get into the whole ‘millennials-are-narcissistic’ thing (for just so many reasons) and I’ve already admitted I’m perhaps more than a bit vain. But.

The point is this: I’m going to continue writing. Things will probably be less exciting overall, as I won’t be in Ireland come  3 September, but then again, my life never was particularly exciting most of my time here anyway. Because the second reason I started this blog was because I just wanted to. I wanted to journal, to say what I liked to more than the four walls of my room.

Initially, I expected putting it online would allow people to hold me accountable if I missed a week. Instead, I found myself very much looking forward to writing each week and sharing my thoughts and musings and whatever else I felt like writing. And, of course, the cat pictures. So in truth, my reason for writing is nonperishable.

The name of this blog, Journeyman, alluded both to the fact that I was on a journey and that I was seeking to become a master. But, honestly, it was also probably a bit of my trite philosophy coming through–life is a journey, or so I’ve heard. And, near as I can tell, no one manages to become a master in the brief space of a lifetime. We’re all perpetual journeymen.

Лесная Дорога

From the Prokudin-Gorskii Collection at the Library of Congress. Rural Russia, ca. 1905-1915

And thus, whether you want it to or not, this blog will continue into the indefinite future. I’m sticking to once a week (probs Thursdays still). If you’re less concerned with my life after Ireland, no one’s forcing you to stay. But I’ll  be here, speaking into the vast void of the internet, alone if necessary, until further notice.

Hobey ho, let’s go.

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Hypermagical Ultraomnipotence

It is normally fairly easy for me to write these posts. I mean, I edit and revise and take them in different directions, but the words themselves don’t typically have much of a problem getting onto the page.

But this week, I’ve had quite my fill of words.

I got to see my cousin on Tuesday, we toured Dublin a bit and hung out in Merrion Square because it was a gorgeous day. So that was really pleasant, and a much-needed respite.

The title this week is an allusion to a wonderful E. E. Cummings poem about that ever-busy monster–manunkind. I’ve heard there’s a pretty good universe next door. Let’s go.

Not the Triumph

This week has been a really tough one for me, with The Deadline rapidly (terrifyingly, insanely, unbelievably) closing in. Sometimes, usually in the mornings, I feel like this is the day and don’t stop me now and I’m on a roll. Other times, I want to curl into a ball on my bed and hide forever under a blanket (and I don’t even have my favorite blanket anymore, I already sent it home with my parents and isn’t that just the latest in a string of disappointments and aren’t I just a disappointment and how did I get here and why can’t I be productive and in what universe did I honestly think I could do this and what is the meaning of life I don’t even know and probs don’t really even care because nothing matters I mean I don’t even have my blanket nothing will ever be okay again).

Which is to say, a lot of my time is spent in personal pity parties over the lamest things. Even writing this, being super conscious of how silly and awful that is, it’s a real struggle to not give in to that. And by ‘real struggle,’ I mean I’m failing and just don’t really care. But more on my self-centeredness in a bit. For now, before my everything becomes altogether too horrifying, have some cats.

A couple quick notes on the Olympics. First, I don’t care what you say, Russia wore bow-ties in the Opening Ceremony and is therefore delightful. So there’s that. Also, the IOC President’s speech, while speechy, also captured why I love the Olympics and don’t care about sports. When the world tries to divide us, we can still come together. I don’t generally watch much of the competitions themselves, because of who I am as a person, but it’s really the idea of the games that I care about. There is a wonderful quotation attributed to the founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin, that captures how I feel even though I am certainly no athlete.

The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.

I rewatched The Princess Diaries (no shame) this week and, though I had seen it before, the ending caught me a bit off guard. Not that she became princess (spoiler alert) but the manner in which she did so. In movies like this, in situations like that, the character gets some inspiring words of advice, often about the nature of courage. This movie definitely has that. Then the character makes a speech–formal or otherwise–telling the audience how they arrived at the decision to be courageous. And this is where Princess Diaries differs a bit from the trope. She gets some words of encouragement and some heavily plagiarized aphorisms about courage. But in her princess acceptance speech–it is literally a speech here, possibly televised–she does not describe her courage. She describes her selfishness.

She explains that the fear that was holding her back (which she implicitly, to the audience, needed courage to overcome) was based in a reflex to think only of herself. But there are seven billion other people on this planet and perhaps she should make a decision of this import with some of them in mind as well. I mean, it’s the typical teenage revelation that the world does not, in fact, revolve around them. A struggle I (and perhaps you) have not totally overcome. Sometimes, you gotta just love yourself. Actually, love yourself all the time but you know what I mean. But also all the time, you need to love other people. St. Anselm said something to the effect of, “It is in giving that we receive.”

So here I am, wading through acres of Keegan problems. But I’m also trying to look outward too. Admittedly, it’d probably be easier if I were royalty, and not trying to write a dissertation, but here we are. So take some cats, take some courage, and give more than you receive.

529,920 Minutes

Quick review of the new Jason Bourne which I saw yesterday with my moviegoing companion: it was thoroughly enjoyable because Jason Bourne is awesome, but it wasn’t anything too special. I had wanted to rewatch all the old movies before seeing this one, but I didn’t, alas. Anyway.

This week. My father and brother were visiting, as I told you, I celebrated a birthday, and so did my blog. First, Ireland adventures. Then… the other thing.

I lied. Actually first, cat.

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Aww, she wants to go swimming  ❤

So, Ireland adventures. I went around Dublin with my family on Friday doing the main Dublin things–cathedrals, castle, Trinity ect. On Saturday, we did a bus tour to Cashel, Blarney, and Cork. Probably to great shame, I did not kiss the Blarney Stone but. I was pumped to finally get to Cork, I had wanted to visit for a long time and just never gotten around to it. So yay, I’ve now been to all four provinces of the island: Leinster, Ulster, Munster, and Connacht. Though I still want to visit Banbridge Town and Bantry Bay, having already been to Derry Quay, Galway, and Dublin Town. Anyway. On Sunday, we went up through a bit of the North to see the Titanic exhibit in Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway. On Monday, we went out to Howth once more and did the seaside cliff walk through the bluster and chill because Ireland didn’t really care that it was 1 August. But all in all, it was a lovely visit and I’m glad I got to spend some time with them.

There is no feeling quite like listening to contemplative piano music while watching rain lash the window through the faintly sepia light of what would have been a sunset, had the clouds not obscured and somehow made more radiant the sun. Neither is there much that’s quite so Irish.

Indeed, it has me very much in the mood for looking back on this year of blogging.

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Look at that beautiful line. It was a bit rocky at first, but I never planned on doing Thursdays, Thursdays just sort of happened.

It’s strange to think back to last August, the things that occupied my time and the thoughts I was thinking when not thus occupied. This past year has seen me confront many challenges. Against some I proved victorious, against some I failed, and against some the outcome remains to be seen. Certainly, I have much to be grateful for. Foremost, here, I’m grateful for you, my readers. I mean, I’d probably keep writing regardless of whether anyone read it but it’s nice to know that people I care about stop by and comment and whatnot. And it’s really special when people I don’t know at all think I’m saying something worth reading. So thanks, guys   ❤

There’s still more road to travel on this current adventure, but it’s winding to a close here with one month left in Ireland. As I think about that, I’m glad that I’ll be leaving with more than memories (and relationships, because people here are cool) but I’ll also have some documentary evidence of what my life was like here. That’s one of the really cool things about keeping a journal–you can look back and, even if you’re embarrassed, see what you and your life were like in days gone by.

Anyway, I won’t get too melodramatic here,  I’ll save that for my last post in Ireland. For now, we’ll just leave it. Another year older, a year on the blog, eleven months in Ireland, and finally having made it to Cork.

Thanks for the memories   😉