Twenty two

This is a strange time for me. I’m in my early twenties, existential freak-outs happening on weekly basis, and never knowing what my next step should be. I mean, I enjoy passion and submitting to my every irrational desire, but I also know what’s expected of me, required of me, in order to be a responsible young adult and a productive member of society. But fuck that. Sometimes I like fucking up.

In one of my recent moments of passion, I was torn whether to register for another semester of school or to follow a girl to France. After a little thought I chose the latter. Now I’m weeks away from leaving, and with no money for food or shelter, I’m sitting here wondering what the fuck I’m doing. What the fuck am I doing? Am I that hungry for an adventure, for a girl, or for love? I think so. Yes, I am. When I start to fit my piece in the giant life puzzle, I get scared and make drastic decisions in the moment of uncertainty. Like buying a one way ticket out of the country. But really, though, I think it’s for love.

My body feels different when I’m in love. I think differently when I’m in love. And, well, I’m at a perfect age for love. It’s great that I’m allowed to sound awkward when talking about it. It’s “cute,” right? It’s not quite like teenage poetry, but plenty embarrassing just the same. Who cares? What I’m really trying to say is — fuck it. Love is great. If the responsible, productive members of society can spend their free time writing books and making movies about people who say fuck it, then I can say fuck it and not be fucking up. Right? Right.

11 responses to “Twenty two”

  1. PB says:

    Go to Paris, stay in love and then fall out of it and then fall again (maybe with the same person–see Bacon’s comment on the “wrong one.”) Love IS the adventure. You will have a city-assigned garbage can and someone telling you to make dinner soon enough. My only advice from one who has never been to Paris, maybe learn a few new vocab words while you are overseas. How do you say “fuck” in French??

  2. coralie says:

    I already taught him lots of nice vocabulary, don’t worry for him, he’ll do well in France!

    fuck= PUTAIN!!!

  3. PB says:

    ah . . the vocab of love.

  4. brooke says:

    putain c’est! or something.

    Nathan, one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself and my personal development was take a year to live and study in England when I was around your age (a bit older, actually). Although I was there to attend school, I travelled all over the place, made a few lasting friends and learned more about the world than I ever would have sitting in a classroom stateside. My decision was hard also, because it meant prolonging my graduation by a year, returning to the States and writing a long thesis, and generally entering a completely unknown environment. I’m happy to look back on that decision now and realize how right it was, even though at the time it seemed like I was just procrastinating.

    So I say, go for it! Go be in Paris, in love, and have some crazy existential freak-outs in a foreign country for a while. Nothing could be better for you, IMO. It’s not as though you are saying ‘fuck it’ and sitting on a couch eating chips and watching day time television (not that there’s anything wrong with that, Trixie). You are pursuing a passion, a love and an exciting adventure. Hell yeah! Enjoy yourself.

  5. By pure coincidence I’m reading the manuscript diary of a kid named Thomas Thompson from 1786. He was 20 years old. He writes at the beginning of the diary these questions, which he says he wants to review every night when he sits down to write:

    Where have my feet chose out their way?
    What have I learnt where ere I’ve been?
    From all I’ve heard, from all I’ve seen?
    What know I more that’s worth the knowing?
    What have I done that’s worth the doing?
    What have I thought that I should think?
    What duty have I left undone?
    Or into what new folly run?

    In case that sounds a little priggish, you’ll probably be relieved to know his answer, the first day, is “Nothing,” which is the usual answer. Then he writes: “My life appears a chaos. Useless to myself & the world. Here I have left college and feel destitute of common sense. I hope that sense of my deficiency will in future be a stimulus to improvement. Rather unwell. Feel unsettled. My eyes hurt. The day very agreeable.”

    Your post made this funnier than it would have been otherwise; I also thought the juxtaposition against Pandora’s was amusing, though I’m sure it wasn’t premeditated.

    That kid wound up being a senator from New Hampshire.

  6. JaneAnne says:

    Because I try to be helpful, Nathan, I’ll tell you that the verb “to fuck” is “foutre.” “Go fuck yourself” would be “Va te faire foutre.” “It’s all fucked up” would be “c’est tout foutu.”

    And of course you’ve probably known since you were a wee lad (even in Snowflake) that shit = merde.

    You should be excited! Besides the fact that Paris is an absolutely awesome city, a whole new world of profanity is opening up to you. And you’re so young yet! Have fun.

  7. Tim Wager says:

    As someone who was always very cautious in life–went to the right college when I was expected to, graduated when I was supposed to, went off to grad school, blah blah blah–I look back and wish I had been more cavalier about it all and said, “Fuck it! I’m off to Paris to misspend some of my youth!” Not that I didn’t have my fun, but I don’t really feel like I’m any more or less advanced in life and wisdom because I always did what was expected of someone my age and station in life.

    Time is big. You have an amazing opportunity. Seize it! Drink life to the lees!

    And don’t forget to write.

  8. Lane says:

    As an undergraduate I took a class in anthropology because a good friend was in that line of study. I hated the class, but Jim O’Connell said one of the coolest things any professor had ever said.

    “No one should receive a bachleors degree without knowinfg the difference between a cabernet, a syrah, a merlot a zinfandel and a pinot noir.” He held up one finger for each as he listed them for dramatic emphisis.

    So I pass that on to you. They do things over there by region rather than verietal, but none the less, go, drink, and remember.

  9. Lisa Parrish says:

    I misspent most of my twenties, most notably singing Carpenters songs for months on end in a French restaurant in Japan (the late, lamented Brasserie Ichimonji). Sooooooooooooo worth it. Get thee to France, young swain. Fabulous things await you.

  10. Nathan says:

    THANKS EVERYONE. (I would write more but passion awaits)

  11. Anonymous says:

    one year wedding anniversary gift…