Wednesday, March 23, 2005

In Search for Nevernever Land...

35. Yesterday, I was cruising down the side streets avoiding getting stuck behind slow drivers, but hey, that's life and there are too many of them. I was so annoyed by people driving the speed limit, by the stop lights, and by the drones sitting in traffic waiting to get from point A to point B as if that were normal. Don't they realize there is a life to live and it is insane to spend hours of one's life on the road? I stopped listening to radio years ago because I got annoyed at 1010 WINS repeating the same news and the same traffic reports every few minutes. Can you believe people sit there behind the wheel and listen to the same thing over and over again? Do you?

I was so overwhelmed by the lack of free space and the lack of time one has in life. I was also stressed by the fact that we are forced to live by a watch that ticks too fast. I would say I was feeling generally claustrophobic, but from an environmental "trapped in a life" perspective, not from a "trapped in a room" perspective. In high school, I was so frustrated with the pace of time imposed on me that one day I took off my watch and I literally threw it up into the air; I never looked back to see where it landed. If it were up to me there would be no clocks. Call me Captain Hook. Why is it that it is now 8:30am and I need to do a billion things before my class later this morning? I guarantee you most of them will not get done, especially if I indulge in writing this blog, especially if I get into flow which I can already start to feel happening, almost as if my fingers do the typing and I watch the screen with a grin on my face feeling calmed by how well my fingers know my inner thoughts.

To be short, I was affected yesterday by seeing a piece of the "The Last Samurai" movie combined with my thoughts from a recent movie I saw a few months ago called "The Village", where a group of doctors sheltered themselves from a skewed and busy world to literally carve out a life for themselves in the forest that was moral and serene (the life they created, not necessarily the forest), where they can live according to their values, the proper values, without intrusions from the evolving psychotic outside world that so often seems to me to resemble a child in a frenzy running with a large black hat covering his eyes, screaming (the child, not the hat), and not realizing that he's about to run straight into the wall in front of him.

For most of yesterday, my thoughts were filled with trying to think of a serene place in the borders my state or surrounding states [so that I can enter to practice law and then leave as soon as possible to retreat to my village] where I can step away from all the busy rat-race running that we do and from all that I cannot stand. After my research, I don't think a place like this exists here because our state is infected with physical crowding and growth that moves like an epidemic. Sometimes I wish the industrial revolution never happened. Often I wish I could live near a farm in a very small community undisturbed by the city. I would practice my profession, and I would make enough to live a meaningful life. If I started discussing how I wish I lived in a world without cars and fast trains, I would be redundant because I feel that I made my point. We move too fast.

I am feeling stressed out because I don't think I want to live the high-paced life of a lawyer. I am a thinker, not a workhorse. I signed up because I thought that for the few years of sacrificial living, I would develop specialized knowledge in law that would allow me to live a serene life and benefit from the mass of information that I have spent so far two painful years ingesting. I am looking down the road and I don't see the serene lifestyle at the end of the tunnel; it seems to me that our professors are preparing us for a life of more stress and of more servitude. Law school is supposed to be an investment into my future, not a boot camp to prepare me for the brutalities of war that lie in wait for me to graduate. This is not what I signed up for. Have I taken an exit into a one-way highway that leads to somewhere I don't want to go? Maybe I will try that summer program in China after all.


ariadneK, Ph.D. said...

Ooops...I have 2 cousins that are lawyers, they agree (and as an observer I have as well) that it is AMAZINGLY exciting, interesting and fast-paced, but: peaceful and serene? You will be working much harder once out of law school than you are now. however, most jobs are like that. Serenity is something that, as I think you already suspect but may be hesitant to face at this stressful time, something that must come from faith within. Given the ever-at-the-front of your mind devotion to your religious practices, I see someone with the kind of faith it will take to find that serenity. :-) Just don't let the trees obstruct your view of the forest.

ariadneK, Ph.D. said...

Incidentally: sorry to be bombarding you with yet another comment...and I'm definitely NOt trying to be intrusive, but I was thinking about your post again a few minutes ago, and I wanted to ask you if you had every considered writing as a career (or even a side-career). You write exceptionally well here in your blog about many ideas (both standard and controversial), and your writing is incredibly thought-provoking. Please give some thought to exploring an avenue like this; it would suit you and also contribute to the serenity which you seek. :-)

Take care,

if not now, when? said...

Re: the rat-race and the search for serenity.

As I wrote in my comment to "peter pan," religion may help, but only if you know what you're looking for - you need the question before you can find the answer.

look for the wonder in the world around you, let yourself be awed by it; that's the first step.

ariadneK, Ph.D. said...

When you mention the movie "The Village", you say that they are living by "the proper values"...what makes these values "proper" versus ??? values? Proper is a relative term, defined, on a global level, strictly by perspective...

Victoria said...

two things: first, try WNYC (QXR)...I've lived in japan for a while now, but I think its 80 something on the dial. Way better than 1010WINS. Sundays usually have some very strange programs too.
second, If you want to live a quiet life not dealing with the craziness of everyday life in a city, why are you becoming a lawyer? They don't need lawyers in tiny towns in the woods because people all know each other and solve their own disputes without bringing the law into it. Maybe I'm wrong though. I live in a tiny farm town in Japan and threw away my watch months ago and I know many people, but no lawyers. I know farmers and teachers and farmers and farmers and a doctor and a dental assistant, but the people here don't need lawyers. Dental assistants are way more important to a rural town.
Maybe you should try the summer program in China and see if you really are cut out to live in a small town. Many people in the city SAY they want it, but once they get there they're bored or anxious. Give it a try and then get on with spending all that money on law school

Zoe Strickman said...

All this is good advice. I will write about it now in the next blog.

If not now, when?: Please explain your comment.

ariaknek: 1) Thank you for your compliment about my writing. I credit that to my mom for years of attention to the details while I was growing up, and more recently, to the grammar books I've been reading.
2) When I am writing about "proper values" in referencing "The Village", I am talking about none other than my subjective view of how I would like to see the world, and what I understand proper to mean. Of course I am guilty of generalizing.

victoria: It's always interesting getting a message from you specifically because of the life you chose for yourself. I spoke to two professors last night and they said that China might be a valuable experience. BTW, I still see a little bit of "New York" in your writing.