Sunday, January 15, 2006

Jet lag and the revelations of solitary

So much for being used to travel. It's Sunday morning and I haven't slept during non-daylight hours since I got back. I'm trying to shift myself, and the current plan has me going to sleep soon after I write this post, but it's frustrating not to be exhausted enough to conk out as soon as my head hits the pillow. With enough sleep debt, I'm not an insomniac.

One nice thing about abstaining from a place or thing is that it eventually shows you what you love and what you just thought you did. Things often fade from your memory with less protest than you thought they would. This is why people go on retreats and solitary quests, why they go off to the woods (because they wish to live deliberately and front only the essential facts of life, as Thoreau would say).

In the Philippines, I kept on thinking about my thick down quilt in the middle of the night. I love thick blankets, even in the middle of summer; it's a comforting snuggle to have on top of you, and I get cold easily. I kept thinking about fresh vegetables, pasta, and hot showers. When I'm at school, I miss my parents more than I'll admit to in most conversations, and appreciate time alone with my brother and his frank commentaries on everything (especially our parents).

I kept thinking about some folks that I don't see often, and went weeks without thinking about others I meet nearly every day. That sounds terrible, like I don't care about them; I do. It's terrifying and wonderful to see how deeply various people have changed the way you think, and how conscious you are of the change. There's a thought I'd like to express in this sentence, but it won't form itself into words.

I feel starved after a time without good conversations, particularly with folks that understand when I geek out, but am fine without excessive amounts of solitary studying, and won't die if I don't take a textbook with me. I need to be free to wander anywhere at any time I please; I want freedom more than I want safety.

If it takes three weeks to remind me of this and more, I wonder what will happen after graduation when I take a whole year or two off to go away and live without my world.

2 comments:

Christie said...

We just got home from Hong Kong, and am totally feeling the jet lag thing. Yay for a 15 hour plane ride that really lasted for 3 with the time change.

I hope that we're adjusted by the time school rolls around...

Nicole said...

I think it's a major triumph that I actually dragged myself out of bed before 9am Hawaii time, and I came back from Bangkok a week ago. At least the Hawaii-Boston change should be a little less tiring...The nerd in me is wondering what the distribution would look like of timezones traveled by Olin students. Good luck with your rest and tai chi - sounds fantastic!