Monday, December 31, 2012

One of them "New Year's" posts

Let me preface this post with the following statement: in the past two weeks, I have watched 4.5 season of The Wire. Furthermore, the cause of this essay has neither a physical nor metaphysical basis. That is to say, I am writing from impulse rather than from meticulous deliberation or any kind of forethought. Therefore, I apologize for the content and style of the commentary soon to conspire.

Currently listening to: The Temptation of Adam, by Josh Ritter

Perhaps not everyone is disappointed the world continued into the thirteenth year of the second millennium after the death of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately for them, Nibiru didn’t collide with Earth, North Korea didn’t launch a nuclear bomb, and zombies have yet to show their undead, semi-decomposed faces. The human race has outlived the Mayan calendar but with few prospects of societal development,. Forgive my cynicism, but if you continue reading, you will see that on a personal level, I reject the possibility of stunted growth.

When Columbia Pictures began distributing the box office hit “2012” at the end of 2009, I wonder how many Hollywood executives actually believed that the movie’s profits had only a three-year shelf life. [1] And while there were probably a substantial few who sold their stock around the 21st of December, the majority of us were not surprised to wake up on the 22nd to read headlines absent of 15 point magnitude earthquakes or astrophysical anomalies. But did humanity wish for an encompassing extinction? For many coming from the all-round broken American system of just about everything, perhaps. But on the other side of the world, I had a student, who is high-level middle school, answer in an eloquent, albeit broken, English essay, which was in response to the question "why do people keep predicting the end of the world," with the following:

“December 21, 2012 was the day that Mayans expected the end of the world. However, it did not really happen. Though, people keeps predicting about. I thought about some reasons why they do.
“First, I think many people got tired of their lives. Everyday is a succession and it’s so hard for people of all ages not to compete with others. As a result, they get stress and want everything to stop. One reason may be a complicated and boresome lifestyles.
“Another reason might be come from the fear of death. If the Earth really ends, everyone will die including family, friends, and people we know. In that way, our fear can decreased as it is not just myself dying leaving others.”

Something to understand about these students is that they study literally 15-16 hours a day. And not by choice. Whether by parental or societal pressure, these kids have little time to be kids. But they score highest on any standardized test thrown at them. And this is a good place to say that South Korea also scores highest in the worldwide suicide rate. So maybe it isn’t so uncommon to hear a Korean student pretty much admitting[2] that global annihilation bears the otherwise guilt of taking one’s own life. Maybe that is a universal thought shared by people from all nations. Perhaps the only thing stopping all of us from 'tying the noose' is the inherent selfishness in the act. But the fact that the world didn’t end has ramifications of its own.

And this is where I veer from the cynical, "Wiresque" mentality and thus disregard the aforementioned psychological dilemma as non-personal (that is to say, don't worry mom/dad, sisters/brother, and grandma/grandpa, I am not actually suicidal but am merely entertaining such a thought for literary dialog). 2012 came and went. Personally, this year brought about a lot of change in my life. In the past year, I worked four jobs, graduated with three degrees, lived in two countries, and understood that there is only one humanity. Maybe we, as a race, cannot overcome all the obstructions in our way. Perhaps suicide is a worldwide phenomenon due to global modernization. Perhaps education, or over-education, leads toward depression. Perhaps, as an educated person, I sometimes feel depression overtake me. Be that as it may, I will now chronicle the more optimistic side of 2012.

If your name is Sean, Sebastian, Patrick, or Severin, you might remember the meta-movie we half-heartedly tried to make at the beginning of this year. To sum it up in one sentence, it was a recording of us talking about recording a movie where we talk about recording a movie. While I thought this movie was lost when I reinstalled Windows 7 on my computer, Sebastian recently discovered these hidden files on his computer last week. After viewing these clips, I was reminded again how happy I was when I was neglecting the work on my senior thesis during Spring Break ’12 to instead procrastinate for indie-filmmaker endeavors. Life in the Pearlnut house never looked so appealing. Though that era is over, I will never tire of reminiscing.

2012 also marked a time of friendship expansion. After completing my senior thesis (and, therefore, my months of semi-reclusiveness), I re-entered the social scene with a vengeance. I made life-long friends in a matter of months with neighbors and classmates. I especially think of the April-June months when I grew very connected with the inhabitants of “green house,” the house kitty-corner to mine. Marykate, Jill, Kyle, and Garett, I have some memories that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

But it was also a time of change for me. First, once I graduated from Western, I went to Chicago with Sebastian for a month to obtain a TEFL certification. While I was only there for a brief time, it was an enormous amount of fun and development. On the list of places to come back to, Chicago hits number one.
Then there came a while of waiting. I think my general recollection of 2012 can be summed up by the infinitive verb: ‘to come.’ Making money and drinking coffee is about all I can say about my time between Chicago and Seoul, not that it was forgetful or unpleasant.

But before I moved, Sebastian and I had a grand ole’ going away party. Everyone of my firends I loved was there. There were too many goodbyes for the heart to handle. Yet the memory that continues to invade my psyche is of a speech I made (though I can’t remember what I said), during which I am 90% sure my fly was down. You see, my mom had just taken me shopping, during which I bought a pair of awesome tan-colored corduroys, at an unmistakably discount price. But it was Plato’s Closet, so I trusted them. Turns out, Plato’s Closet doesn’t party-proof their merchandise, which is the misfortune of the first-time, focused-on, corduroy wearer, who stood on a chair at 2 a.m. to tell everyone multiple times how much I loved them... with an open fly. Hopefully not everyone noticed, though I admit it and don’t really care one way or another. Regardless, it was a great send off and was a highlight of 2012.

Since then, I can’t say my life has been boring. Though my demographic has shifted from fellow-educated Midwesterners to elementary English learners, I find a deep fulfillment in teaching and motivating them. I don’t want to be one of those teachers who talks about their students all the time, but just know that I love them already and could tell you story after boring-unless-you-are-another-teacher story about them all.

So all in all, I am pretty happy that the world didn’t end last weekend. Granted this world has some problems to work through, I still see the glass as half-full. What do I look forward to in 2013? Well I don’t have a new year’s resolution, if you wanted to know. In general, I think that this is the year for me to grow up. Work a real job, where I put in my all; learn how to live on my own, where I do the dishes and take out the trash; take control of my body, where I eat consciously and push my body physically. I don’t know what I am going to do after this whole Eastern-adventure, but I know that I wouldn’t be happy unless I was attempting to fix some of the world’s problems. 2013 is my year to figure it out, and I can’t wait to.

[1] Though, in my opinion, this term is thrown around rather frequently, I have no idea what the term “box office hit” actually means. However, with a net profit of $569,679,473 (or just over half a billion, for those, like me, who read words easier than numbers), it seems to have done pretty well.

[2] Perhaps this isn’t evident in the essay I shared, but believe that the other 150 essays I complied refer to this fact.

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