shippin up to new york city

That time of year has come when the Oatka Running Club embarks on their annual journey to the depths of New York State. In other words, a bunch of runner kids pile into vans and go run around NYC for three days.

This year it'll be a lot different, which I'm pretty disappointed about, but I can't really complain; I have the chance to visit a beautiful city during a beautiful season with a bunch of my best friends. So, I'm choosing to try to see the good in this year being so different, and I hope I'll succeed.

I'm not sure if I could live in a city. While it's kind of nice to get lost in the whole anonymity of being one of a million in this little hub of activity, it's also kind of scary. You feel very much on your own, and I don't know if I like that. I'm not too good at being alone yet.

Some might argue that the same is true of living in the country, if you're talking about the true country; the my-nearest-neighbor-is-two-miles-thataway kind of country. It sounds paradoxical, but for me, being immersed in thousands of people who care nothing for you, know nothing about you, and frankly don't want to, the sense of isolation is much greater than simply really being by yourself.

I guess it's all about perception, and I guess I should start packing now.

Here's to a great weekend in NYC, spent alone, surrounded by tons of people; it'll be a good opportunity to have company and do a little introspective thinking.


yet another essay to be written

I'm in the process of writing my personal essay for my application to Colgate University, and right now the going is anything but easy.

The prompt has to do with the best piece of advice I've ever been given, and how I've employed said advice in my life. At first glance, this seemed exceedingly easy; deceivingly so, as I now realize. The short answer to this question is simple enough, and came to me as soon as I read the application. I knew I would write about what Coach says to his runners before every meet - "Take care of the little things ahead of time, and the big things will take care of themselves." But when I sat down and actually started to write, I found this statement to be a little closer to my heart than I expected. It's become something of a second nature to me, constantly at the forefront of my mind during everything from day-to-day life to important events. How do you write about something like that?

I tried to start with my interpretation of the advice, but that led to a cringe-worthy near-replica of a tenth-grade English class critical lens paper. I tried to begin with a dramatic story about an exam and a cross country race to detail an example of how I used the advice, but I imagined an admissions staff member staring at the somewhat cheesy anecdote wide-eyed in horror that this person bothered to apply to their university at all, and that idea was promptly discarded. So now I'm stuck.

Maybe what I'm afraid of is being completely honest in this essay. I'm a little wary of writing something for entry to a prestigious college that will basically impart to the reader that this advice facilitates and justifies my OCD to a most satisfying degree, or that I use it so often that I really can't think of a prime example of when I used it, or that it's easy to follow simply because, well, it's common sense.

I know this entry was a bit of a pointless rambler, and I'm sorry for making you all suffer through this for my personal cause of sparking my own thought process. But thank you for reading it anyhow, and please let me know if you have any ideas for me. The next one won't be like this. Promise.


Change We Can Believe In

What I am:
Breathing a huge sigh of relief. Excited that such an intelligent man is going to lead our nation. Truly hopeful for America's future for the first time in a long time. Thankful for voters' good decisions. Glad that a Democrat will be in office this time. Still hearing the poll results coming in, and still getting as excited every time Obama takes yet another state. Impatient for the next four years to begin. Committed to actually following politics this time around, because I actually care now. Able to let go of the terrifying prospect that Sarah Palin could be our President at some point during the next four to eight years.

So, so proud to be an Obama supporter.


one by one all day

Lately, I've been feeling like there is way too much on my plate. I'm sure you know the feeling; that hopeless, underwater daze of perpetual frustration, anxiety, and tension. If you don't, you must've never gone to high school. I'm not saying high school is the most difficult thing you'll ever encounter in your life, because it's not. What I am saying is that when the lesser issues encompassed in the experience that is high school are combined with all of the other things going on in life, everything becomes pretty overwhelming.

Just when I felt like I was going to break under the seemingly-endless amounts of pressures and anxieties that were being heaped on, I suddenly gave myself some slack. I'm not sure how. It certainly wasn't intended on my part to find that I really could live with that irritatingly bad AP Calculus grade, or that stupid, stupid mistake I made on the AP Bio quiz. I was fully intending to beat the proverbial horse to death. I was prepared to brood over my shortcomings for the weekend, going back to school on Monday with strengthened resolve and a massive headache, simply because that's what I do. So sue me.

But, I surprised myself. Sometime in between running in full Amy Winehouse makeup during practice (believe me, the hair and eyeliner is not easily reversed) and driving over to Molly's for the last spaghetti dinner of the cross country season, I gave up on it. I flat out forgave myself my dumb mistakes. When I absentmindedly groped for that oh, no feeling that commonly resides in the pit of my stomach after such an episode, it simply wasn't there.

What's more, this trend continued. I really was and am pleased with my last-ever high school cross country race at sectionals. And on the long bus ride home, looking around at my very best friends and thinking about the race, I felt my other worries loosen their grip, even if only for a few minutes. It was the happiest I've felt in a very, very long time.

It didn't last, of course; life continues, new worries emerge, and there's always something to think over. Cross country, the best sport ever invented, is over, yes. A few other great things in my life are over, too; it's true. But there's a trip to New York City coming up fast, a chance to spend three days with some of the people I love most. There's a chance to spend more time on that frustrating Calc. Above all, there's the new knowledge that I really can get over that trivial little stuff I encounter in my academic life. That's pretty priceless.