I wrote this on June 30, the day before I went to work at the summer camp. No internet in the forest, though. So, I'm posting it now.
So anxious. My mind spins like the Gravitron—you know, that ride at the county fair where you got pulled against the walls of the spinning chamber as centrifugal force did its best to lure vomit out of your mouth and all over your face. I loved that ride and feared it at the same time. So much spinning. That's how I feel.
I haven't been able to sleep all the way through the night for the last week—I wake up too many time to count. My mind is too rowdy for sleep. I wake up and think of which bunk I might be sleeping in and whether my pillows will be too warm or too soft or too something. I think about what songs I might sing while hanging out of a window upside down, serenading a bunch of kids waiting in line to eat their dinner after a long day of swimming and hiking. Mostly I think about my memories of that magical place and wonder if I made the right decision to return to Never Never Land one last time.
I haven't worked at the summer camp since I was 22 or 23. A lot has happened since then. But, who cares about what has happened? I guess I do, since I'm the one not sleeping.
The issue here is the past. I have so many experiences in the past at this place. And, my tiny brain shoots endless electrical impulses through itself in an attempt to reconcile a potential future with my perceptions of past. Talk about futility. This whole thought process is about as useful as staying awake at night wondering if the New Year's Eve 2025 celebration will be as fun as that time back in junior high school when my friend Joshua and I smashed magnets with hammers in his dad's garage or the time Tim and I threw all the garden snails we could find into a pit full of salt.
Nothing will be as fun as those days. But, not because I stuck in the past. It's simple physics. The laws of physics are such that, when measured with infinite precision we find that no two measured values can ever be equal. Nothing will ever be as fun as something else. It will either be more or less. Similarly, nothing will ever be as anything as something else. It just can't be.
But, try to tell the human mind that and you'll see the problem. No matter how much you emote, your mind is a pattern recognition machine. It's main goal is to simplify your world into the following relationships: is equal to, is not equal to, is greater than, is less than. Sounds like high school algebra, doesn't it?
That's what my mind's doing every night when it keeps me awake. Will the experiences in my near future equal those of my past? Will the people whose lives I have the opportunity of touching respond in a way which is greater than or less than those I have worked with before? So simple, so logical, so self–defeating.
Self–defeating? Thinking of the future is self–defeating. Why? Because I could be living in the moment instead of squandering irreplaceable time spinning my wheels over something I can't affect. Spending too much time thinking of the past is self–defeating for the same reason. Why focus on moments lost and chances missed? Why focus on the fairy tale world of the future? The possibilities in these mental machinations are few and far between—if any.
So it's time to be here, now. I'm going to stop thinking about the 13 years I spent at the camp hidden off in the cool redwood forest. I'm going to stop thinking about the 14th summer which will begin in four hours for me. Instead I will think about this very second and live it beautifully and robustly, since it is all I really have.
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