As I search for profound words of wisdom to close this semester, I am left with one overarching thought above all else: I am tired.
I am tired.
Now, perhaps that's the whiney millennial ethos springing forth from me. Perhaps all I need is a change of "perspective" or to experience the "real world." Whatever that means. Perhaps it is a byproduct of my youth and my generation, but I also think it a legitimate claim.
I am tired.
As of writing this I am sitting at home, in my childhood bedroom, staring at a litany of faux gold trophies and middle school art projects and old toys from time gone by and I can't help but think that this is what it is; you live and work and you play and then you are tired and eventually you grow to be so tired that you grow old and die.
Okay, where am I going with all of this?
As Ferris Bueller warns us, life moves pretty fast. Life is coming at me pretty fast right now. Like the knock on the door of my RA at 10 AM this morning, informing me I had under two hours to pitch myself and all of my belongings from the space I had been serendipitously occupying or face the dire consequences.
Life is coming in leaps in bounds. In something around a week's time I'll return to Atlanta. And then, I'll return again to Wisconsin. And then I'll depart for Ireland. And then I'll return (again) to Atlanta.
In all that travel staring me down over the next seven months, I'm sure I will come to the realization again then, as I have now: I am tired.
And yet, I am sure I will also come to the addendum then, as I have now: being tired isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Oh, sure, it isn't fun to be tired. To struggle to keep your eyes open. To feel your muscles strain at every movement. To go to massage your head only to find that what was once there has turned to a pile of mush.
No, tiredness is not fun, but as a part of the human experience, it is quite necessary.
Rome may not have been built in a day, but at whatever point it was finished, I'd be thoroughly surprised if there wasn't at least one sweaty brow or labored breath.
Uncle Ben may have instilled in us from a young age the notion that with great power comes great responsibility but is as equally important to remember that great acts necessitate great investment. Sometimes even great sacrifice.
You see, I might be tired, but that's also in part what let's me know that not only am I alive, but that I live. That I'm making a mark on this world in ways both big and small. After all, it was not with no expenditure of energy that the first communication cables crossed the Atlantic or humans set foot on the moon. Not without the courage to face the expenditure of ourselves that we have and we can continue to grow and learn to love one another.
Oh, I am tired, but it is because of my movement that I am so.
I hate talking about my own accomplishments. I am no braggart. I am usually a quiet man who enjoys a quiet space with his quiet book. And although there are times when I can feel myself grow plenty loud, there are equal (if not more) number of instances when I can feel myself grow plenty concerted.
In the past 12 months, I have accomplished a great many things that warrant being tired. I have done well in school, all around. I have held a number of jobs; with an Atlanta publisher, with my scholarship program, and with this new role as president of Emory's Odyssey community. I have found one of the prime human elusions, romantic love, and I am proud to say I have cultivated any number of vastly deep and affecting platonic friendships as well.
Perhaps among the greatest of my upcoming expenditures is that aforementioned trip to Ireland, of which I have only told a few select close friends and family before the writing of this article. I will be studying abroad at Trinity College in Dublin this coming fall. While I continue to not be the best at publicizing such information widely (despite the fact that we live in the Information Age, do I need to?) I did have trepidations about the trip. Still do, for the most part.
After all, if I'm to go spend three to four months on the other side of the pond, a side I've never been to mind you and only ever read about in books and seen in movies, what does that mean for all the things I've labored for here? All that tiredness I've accrued? I can't take the publisher, and the scholars program, and every single intimate relationship I've cultivated at Emory and beyond to Dublin with me.
My singular answer to my own self-imposed question is trending to be a simple one: Ireland will be its own kind of tiredness. It will be spectacular, I do not doubt. There is a part of me in this layered self of mine that is brimming with excitement to see old buildings and roads and to walk amongst a people so like and yet so unlike me in so many similarly paradoxical ways. To meet even more new people and cultivate even more new relationships that will be cherished for the rest of my days.
Yes, the time I am anticipating spending in Ireland will be chockfull of all sorts of things, I can imagine. And subsequently, in the quiet moments, it will fill me up with its own kind of tired.
So, perhaps I've mused too much to realize that I've already found the profound amongst the mundane; tiredness is not something to be reviled. Tiredness is not the ugly stepchild or the unruly pet that no one ever wanted. No, in its holistic sense, tiredness is its own animal. Not a prerequisite for a whiney millennial existence, but rather a beacon that lights the path of remembrance behind you, as well as shows you the way forward.
As I search for profound words of closure, I am left with one overarching thought: I am tired, and deeply in love with that.