Sunday, February 17, 2008

348, I think

Happy 348th published post, or something close to that. Can you believe I've actually been here for that long? Do you know how many words that is? How many hours spent typing here? It's pretty incredible to me. It makes me happy.

I've been thinking a lot about the future lately, as I am wont to do. Just, where I'm going, how I'm going to do it, what it's gonna be like, etc. etc. Just a lot of that kind of business. It's been fun and enlightening, makes me want to be a better person I guess.

And I think that's one of the cool parts about it all. More or less, every single thing that I worry about for the future comes down to "Well, I've got to be the best person I can be now, and then things will work out better in the future." Every prospect in my future is going to be modified by how I'm doing right now. If I work hard now, my future is going to look brighter than if I don't work hard now. That's pretty cool gravy.

Been thinking about college. To me, right now, it's less about school than it is about being off with five other great guys. I feel like it's training grounds. I'll be working harder at academics than ever before, I'll be cooking my own food, buying my own groceries, being where I need to be or not being where I need to be, more or less being my own person. It's not the big show yet, since I'm playing with other people's money (thank you scholarships and student loans). I'll be with my big brother and some great friends. It's like a half step towards being on my own, I think it's going to be great preparation.

Been thinking a bit about what I want to be when I grow up. Engineering has been the plan for a while now. I love solving problems. I wonder if it's my passion though. I begin to feel that business is more of my thing. I get really excited when I hear or read about clever business models. I'm all about innovation, especially as it relates to businesses.

Of course, business isn't one of those things that is officially a good idea for me. Everybody laughs at the business majors. Business majors sometimes have a rough time actually getting any job, or so I hear. And that's really one of the things I'm most worried about. What if I go to school, do well, show all this promise, and then fall through the cracks? What if nobody picks me up? What if I'm all about trying to make it on my own, and then I fail? That'd be thumbs down.

I feel like I'm going to be on the edge of whatever I end up doing. I can't see myself as a middle of the road professional. Wherever I go, I'm going to want to try something new. I feel that if I'm not gonna be doing anything new, what's the point in doing anything anyways? Can't we get a robot to do it, if it's not something new? There's some uncertainty there for me then. New is risky. New is one of those things that isn't a secure paycheck month by month. New, of course, has a higher chance of ridiculous success. But it carries that added risk that you'll land flat on your butt and have to pick up the pieces. Picking up the pieces is hard.

So I'm not sure what the future holds for me in that area. I think I've got an idea of what I'd like it to hold. I'd like to do something new, obviously. But I'd like to make the world a better place, while making money. I'm not opposed to making money off of people, as long as I'm actually making their lives better. I couldn't stand to sell someone a product that was entirely worthless. But if what I was doing was actually improving their quality of life, see, I think that'd be a great feeling. I'm not how I'll do that yet. I think I've got some time to figure it out as I go. But I'd like to make things better. Help people live better lives, boost the economy. Become financially secure, and then use that security to continue making the world a better place. I worry sometimes that I'm a little too concerned about the finances off tomorrow. I know it's not the most important thing. I just think that being financially secure offers so many opportunities to do good things. Of course, it offers opportunities to do bad things as well, but that's a given. I'd like to be financially secure.

Been thinking about the future of relationships, specifically marriage. Now, I know, that's a no-no. Don't worry, I'm not pegging out girls just yet. Just thinking about how that's going to be, what kind of person I'm going to need to be to make that work. This is one of those things that right now I don't have to worry at all about the other person. All I can do right now is work to make myself the best person I can be, and then hope everything else works out. I've just gotta work like crazy. That's my kind of deal. Now, maybe I'm not the best at working like crazy, but I love the idea of it. I love the fact that right now I don't have to worry at all about anybody else on this. How that all ends up later in life is entirely related to how hard I work now. I love direct relations like that. Work work work now means incredible spouse later. I'm sold.

This post will be a bit all over the place. Prepare youreslves.


When I was turning in my English portfolio, I remarked to Parrish that it was four pound of me. All sheet-protected and pretty, it was sort of a big deal. It had 10th, 11th, and 12th grade writing in there. It also had some blog posts, all of water, all that fun stuff. As I was plopping it onto the pile, Parrish asks, "What's the best piece in there?"

And it got me thinking, How do I define the worth of a piece of writing? Is it how eloquent the language is? Is it how comical it is? Is it, perhaps, how effectively it gets its point across?

I didn't have an answer for her. I had a lot of writing in that portfolio. I had a ton of writing that I was very very proud of. Stuff that I'd spent many hours revising and polishing.

I included blogaday 15 in the portfolio. I wrote that post on the 13th of January, turned the portfolio in on the 25th. It was by far the newest piece in the book. Blogaday 15 received no comments on the blog. It was a much more personal post than I'd written in a very long time. Two people told me after I'd posted it that they liked it. They didn't leave a comment, but they told me.

I like to think that maybe blogaday 15 was the best piece of writing in the portfolio. Not because it's well written or incredibly powerful. But because it did good things for me, and I get the feeling that it did good things for a few other people out there in the world. Maybe it didn't, but I think that maybe, on a tiny tiny scale, it changed a few things.

And isn't that the point of writing? Why else do we get up in the morning, if not to change things for the better? Why are we here, if not to move ourselves and others forward on this eternal march towards betterment?

I had stronger pieces in that portfolio. Blogaday 15 was written with almost zero revision. I had more entertaining pieces. I had pieces that more people had seen, that more people had commented on and loved. I had tried and true veterans. But I think that blogaday 15 takes the cup. Not because it's my favorite piece, and not because it was my strongest piece. But because it did a little bit of good for me, and because I think it made the world a bit of a better place.

How do I define the value of a piece of writing? I think that I've got to say that I define it by the good it does in the world. When it all comes down to it, nothing else really matters, other than how we're doing at being better people and helping others do the same. I think that writing that misses that mark misses the meaning of its creation.

And perhaps I'm wrong. That happens. But it's my theory, and I'm sticking with it.


I had a dream last night. I won't go into it all, but it was quite an interesting one. I only write it here because the feelings that it invoked were very interesting. A few other guys and I were in my basement before an impending crisis. I don't think we knew what it was, but looking back the only thing that'd make sense would be a nuclear strike. We had sealed everything off in preparation. The window was all plexiglass, and we knew we'd be safe in there. The strike (or whatever it was) happened, and suddenly we were a few years later. It felt like no time had passed, but we knew that much time had. Later in the dream I found a yearbook that told me it was now at least 2015, but I'm thinking the date was later than that.

In any event, we found ourselves in an extremely interesting situation. We, as a group, had absolutely no idea what existed outside our little safe room. We didn't know if anybody in the whole world had survived the crisis. We didn't know if there was any infrastructure left. We didn't know if the outlets in the wall would work. We didn't know if there was radiation outside that would toast us the moment we opened the door. We didn't know if everybody had been mutated and that zombies awaited us on the other side. We had no idea if those we loved had survived, or, if they had, where they were now that it was so far in the future. We had a computer in the room, but we didn't know if the power would last for us to use it. We didn't know if the internet had changed so much that our old web browsers would still work. We didn't know if we were wired. I remember worrying specifically about my cell phone, whether I'd ever get the chance to charge it again.

We ultimately had no information at all. We were placed in a situation where we had never been before. We had always known that there were constants out there. People and powers that we could rely on. We didn't know if anybody was alive out there. Everything was different.

We didn't spend long wondering. We ventured out of our safe room into my basement. I picked up the power drill as defense, in case there were zombies. As I ventured up the stairs, I encountered the only scary creature of the whole adventure, some big caterpillar/worm doober. I had to fight with it for a while with the power drill, but eventually I killed it. Way to go me.

But we got upstairs. I remember my house was pretty dark, but still livable. I wasn't being toasted by radiation, but I didn't see any signs of life outside of the people that had survived with me. I remember that we looked outside, to the west, and saw some ruins. Levi or James decided to go check them out, to see if there were any people there. I remember not seeing him or knowing where he was for a long time after that.

We stayed like that for a while, but then we adventured further. We went outside, and we set our course for the stake center. We made it there, and finally found some people. My neighbor was there, as well as a few familiar faces. We were ushered inside pretty quick, and then the lights were turned down so the place looked unoccupied. Apparently there was a lot of persecution going on against us. I got to talk with those people for a while, but not for too long. I never did get to figure too much out of what happened.

The next bit I remember was a year book from Tville. Because it's a dream, I don't remember where I got it. But I remember looking at it for a very long time. The pages were all sepia'd, but some of the pictures were moving Harry Potter style. The date on the yearbook said 200815. I figured it was a new numbering system, something like 15 years after the crisis, or seven years after 2008, making 15. I told my brother that it was dumb, and he agreed. We both looked through the pages forever, trying to find some shred of our former lives. The school was functioning like normal. High school kids, doing their thing. Obviously the world was different, but they were living in the new world.

We finally found evidence of us after a long search. There was one picture of a bunch of kids in front of the trophy cases by the main gym. It was a picture that the yearbook staff had put in from many years ago. I immediately saw a bunch of familar faces, as it was from our year. After a few people moved, I saw myself in the back, on my cell phone. I felt stupid for being on my cell phone for the picture, but overjoyed to know that I had actually existed and that these two worlds that I had known were connected. As I looked at the picture, me and Andrew saw in the trophy case various incarnations of Wilbur. We saw two that we identified as our own. We said something like "Our guardians" or "Our legacy" in reference to those two mascots. Interesting to note is that this part has no basis on reality. Me and Andrew have strong ties to one incarnation of wilbur, but that wasn't in the dream. It was like he and I had crafted these wilbur's. Interesting, eh? We both knew that we had existed, and that while we'd been absent for at least seven years, that those seven years hadn't seen us entirely erased.

And that was most of the dream. I woke up before I needed to, so I laid in bed for a long time thinking about it all. As dreams go, it was very interesting, just because of the scenario that it presented. I had never really placed myself in a situation like that before, where everything was uncertain. Where all the givens of life were tossed out the window. Is there food out there? Are there zombies waiting to eat me? I'm yet to see I am Legend, but I have heard that there's a similar idea there. Don't blame it on that.

I'm taking the dream for what it's worth, obviously. Just an interesting dream, and sort of fun to think about. I wonder if such a thing actually happened, how I'd react. I think that as a group we did a fairly decent job. Dream logic is obviously not the same as wakeful logic. What if me and a few buddies had actually found ourselves instantaneously several years in the future after a global crisis? Would we have ever opened the door to see what was on the other side? Would we have turned the cell phones on, hoping that somehow we'd find an outside world? Would we have saved the fruitsnacks, or would we have eaten them there? One of the things about the dream was that each step away from the initial safe room was a brave undertaking. Opening the door the first time could have meant our death. Once we had secured the house, we took the next uncertain step to the outside world. Once we had secured our surroundings, we took the step down the street to the church. Once that was figured out, we took the step to the highschool. Step by step. In reality, I don't know if we'd have ever opened the door. Things worked out alright for us, maybe I'd be brave enough to do it. Just interesting stuff to think about, that's all.


Some more to write about, but I hope there'll be another day for it. It's been a good post for me to write. I hope that you're all doing well. Happy Sunday evening, friends. I wish you good things.


Nick said...

Dreams can get pretty weird. My dreams always start out based in reality and then deviate drastically. Most of them feature you in leadership situations. It's your destiny. It is... inevitable. Or something. I don't know. Whatever.

Jaron Frost said...

Wow. That's a pretty cool dream! I wish I remembered more of mine. But, oh well.

I kinda feel like you on the degree/career thing. Creative writing... it's nice and all, but what am I gonna do with it? Obviously I could be a novelist or whatever, but from what I hear, that's a very hard job to succeed at. I could write for some magazine or something, I suppose. Or could I be an editor? Or maybe I'll end up teaching creative writing instead? I guess there are options, but they all seem kind of difficult and far away.

You know, I could see you as an inventor. You always have these great ideas, and getting experience in math and business would probably let you be more independent - you wouldn't have to get other people to do math for you, or manage your business. That means more money for you. And that would definitely be a job to help the world. :)