Monday, December 25, 2006

Respite for the Soul

Unfortunately, recovering from the past two years is sure taking its time. After I turned in my thesis, I felt a periodic relief over that weekend. However, the next ten or so days felt continually stressful to me, even though there was almost nothing significant for me to stress myself over. I continually sought ways to escape from the intense fear and worry that I suffered day after day, usually though a combination of sleeping, running, video games, and watching anime. But perhaps the best medicine I have discovered is that of companionship. Simply going out, socializing with friends, and enjoying a more normal existence has done wonders for quelling my anxiety. A week ago while I was still in Austin I was hanging out with friends for the entire day, going to a brunch party, shopping, watching a movie at a friend's house, watching another movie at the Alamo.....I honestly can not remember the last time that I spent the entire day out of my house and with other people. I've decided that I'm going to make an effort to get out with friends more (once a day when possible).

I drove back to Phoenix from Austin on the 20th with a friend from high school (who is now a grad student at UT). We left at about 8:30AM Austin time and arrived at midnight Phoenix time, so it was about 14.5 hours to travel just over 1,000 miles. It was long, but it was surprisingly relaxing compared to taking a shorter 2 hour flight. Its nice being home, but its really cold here compared to what it was like when I left Austin. It doesn't help that my mom insists on not turning on the heat in the house (she claims that she can't afford it). I've made a lot of good progress in reducing my stress in the past five days, but I still have a long way to go. What frustrates me most of all is that I finally have loads of time to work on Allacrost, but I don't have a proper state of mind to work on it. Its really sad to admit, but my abilities in writing, reading, programming, drawing, and hell, everything are incredibly lower than what I am normally capable of.

Which brings me to my next point: I think graduate school did made me worse in more ways than it has made me better. I've been analyzing this over and over in the back of my head over the past couple of weeks. First, the good things. After finishing graduate school, I can now state with confidence that I am more intelligent than I was before. That is really the only solid positive I can find. Now as for the negative, in my current state I am now: less creative, less articulate, more selfish (I had to become selfish to survive, even though I hate being selfish), less empathetic, less emotional (emotions are good things: you should treasure them if you have them), more anxious, less ambitious, less motivated, more cynical, and the list just goes on. Basically: I think that I've become more intelligent at the expense of every other aspect about who I am becoming worsened. If I had the opportunity to take my degree and somehow trade it in to get back all of the things that I have lost, I would do so without a second thought. Isn't that sad? Isn't that really, really sad? This whole experience has almost driven me to reconsider practicing as an engineer and seek another field of interest. Hell, what am I talking about? That already happened a year ago when I applied to the damn school of neuroscience! Looking back at my actions then, I can clearly see that a significant portion of what motivated to do that back then was because I was seeking an escape from my present. I'm still very interested in the subject mind you, just not to the degree where I would actively pursue an education in the field.

On a more random topic, I'd like to discuss my dreaming as of late. In the past week, and especially since I've come back home, my dreaming has become unbelievably more deep with each passing night. What do I mean by deep? I mean that the world constructed by my subconcious is ever more real and tangible. Every time that I wake up, it takes me about 10-15 minutes to reconstruct the experience that is reality. I have to re-realize who I truly am, and accept that all of the experiences I have had were nothing more than fragments of a virtual world that I unknowingly constructed around myself. Suprisingly, I'm sleeping about a normal 8 hours of sleep a night. But every time I wake up I feel like I've been in a coma for weeks. Even more perplexing to me is that even though these dreams are nearly more real than they have ever been, I can't remember much when I wake up. I do know that each dream I've had in the past week has had me centered around a different major conflict. The memories I have of the past week of dreams are few and scattered, but I remember in one there was a princess, and in another I had given up engineering to become an actor (which I was talented at, in the dream at least). Perhaps I should make it a habit to record my dreams when I wake up so that I can actively recall the events that transpired. I do not dislike these dreams. Oh no, I much prefer living in my various dream worlds than in the real world presently. Sometimes I ponder to myself that if I could, would I opt to sleep for the rest of my life, with the conscious decision that I was living in my dreams? Or would the guilt of completely neglecting the going ons of the outside world overwhelm me? I have been unable to find my answer.

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