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11:22 a.m.

Lana feelsThe current mood of xengirl at www.imood.com

Sometimes there is no direction. Sometimes I just float through whatever it is that I'm doing at the moment, moment to moment, flowing into each other and into minutes and hours and days and weeks of floating through daily rhythms. Trying to keep in some touch with the bigger pictures, the one of my life and the one of nature and the flow of the universe. Trying to keep my own ebbs and flowings in tune with those of earth and sky and sun and moon and water. Just-living times, existentialist times, times when everything works out for the moment and life is not linear, it's horizontal. There is no path to travel, there is just this eternal spinning, and it can be gorgeous or terrible or anything in between, but it is life. It is living. It is moments and hours and days and years. Then, sometimes, all the horizontals slide into alignment and the path slides out from wherever it's been, hiding or maybe just ignored. The path of future and possibilities and here-or-there and absolutes. Relative absolutes. And suddenly it's clear that there is a now and a future, and that the succession of moments that have led up to now, the decisions I've made and the experiences I've had, have brought me to a place and time and situation which is the beginning of such a path. There is probably an ancient greek or germanic word that describes this perfectly, but it's one of the many ancient greek or germanic words which I don't know. At some point last year I had one of those moments, sitting in Chris Labonte's Advanced Biology class. Perspectives shifted and for a moment that was really a week I could see stretched out before me the road that would lead to a career and a life and respectable-adult-hood. I talked to him and he filled in some details and one thing led to another and I ended up doing a month of research at the University of Chicago this summer. I learned from that experience that I do not want to be a microbiologist. I don't want to spend my life playing with chemicals and test tubes - it's interesting work, it's not very hard if you follow procedure, but it doesn't hold me. I think. Maybe once I actually take some classes and get into the theory behind the shaking of the tubes it will be better, but even if it's not, there are so many other things I could do with the sciences. Many stable career paths, many interesting opportunities, many options for a life that would make everyone happy. Me, my family, my teachers and mentors and found-family at CRMS. All the people who want to see me stop bouncing my intellect off the walls and do something with it.

It's such a clear path. It would require much work, would entail many challenges, would be enjoyable and, who knows, maybe I'd even discover something meaningful and change something big in the world. A good, solid path. Leading through college, grad school, a Ph.D, jobs, travel, the ability to live and teach and research and write in as many liberal little college towns as I want. I could do anything, and I wouldn't be forced into anything tremendously uncomfortable. I'd have at least another five years (from now) before I had to leave the protective envelope of A Good Liberal Arts College and face the world, but even then if I decided I wanted to go right into grad school and then right into a job at a pharmecutical company or a college or university somewhere, I could do that. And at some point I would acquire the peripherals - a spouse of one sort or another, kids, an apartment, pets. Flowers and herbs in pots on the rooftop and in the windows, organic vegetarian chili simmering on the stove as I write a lesson plan for the next day, practicing witchy urban paganism or moon-tide rural paganism, depending on where we found ourselves. And that would be happiness, of one sort. I could find bliss without too much introspection, live and do mostly the right things and have passion and music and dancing and maybe make a difference to the world or maybe just pull through the whole charade of life with a lot of laugh lines and a good period of existence to show for it.

So why am I not content with this? Why is there this pesky little voice popping up in my consciousness, sounding like Ani and Cesca and Peekay and Heather, reminding me that there is another path. One that, at this point, is just as possible, somewhat less clear, thrilling and scary and ripe with possibilities that extend so far into the realm of alternatives to what I've always known. My parents have always been very careful to avoid difficulty. My mother plans everything six months ahead - my plane tickets for Thanksgiving break have been purchased since May, and she's working on the ones for the winter holidays. My father has his set-in-stone parameters of thought, and anything, any concept, that goes outside of those walls just floats off into the ether. For him, nothing exists except what is inside his world-view. It's not even a matter of somebody else looking at it differently - he doesn't have an opinion because some things just don't exist. He is a child of the Kennedy era, though technically he should be too old for that. He really believes in democracy and the American Way and government and the Associated Press and bourgeois ideology. He firmly believes that if only everybody would stop complaining about world hunger and paying foreign workers fair prices and freeing tibet and just put their faith in free market capitalism and american democracy, the world's problems would be solved. Everything has a system of checks and balances and eventually things would work themselves out. He uses this as an excuse never to get involved in anything - things will work themselves out and nothing he could do would change them anyway, so why bother, no matter what he personally thinks is right or wrong. I want to go far, far away from that. Maybe he's right. Maybe in the grand scheme of things nothing I do, or anyone does, will affect the greater balance. But I don't think that the balance system is free market capitalism. I think it's something much bigger, the force of humanity and nature and the wheel of life. Nothing we can watch or chart because the time scale on which it occurs is so grand that we can't begin to understand it. And that we have to do what we can in the time we have, be it big things or small things. So there lies the other path. Antioch being the symbol. Antioch which would push me and strech me intellectually but in different dimensions than simply a liberal arts education. Antioch where I would go on co-ops everywhere, and see the messy parts of the world, and get involved and maybe gain a greater understanding of the feeling behind all of it. I think the hows and whys, the academic studies of sociology and the like, are important but I also want to understand it in my being. I want to grok it as well as observe and calculate it. Human suffering and human joy, human life and labor and living. I don't know what I would major in at Antioch. I do know that by the time I had to know, I would. And so there lies the other path. Biology at Mount Holyoke, experience at Antioch. The choices are there, and the paths are clear. It's just a matter of admissions decisions, and goddess only knows what I'll do if I get into both.

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