Two years ago, I took a semester off NYU to undergo a kidney transplant surgery. The surgery and recovery process took only about five weeks. The rest of those six months I spent in waiting. Waiting for the hospital to call and set up an appointment. Waiting while my friends nabbed exciting internships. Waiting for something to do, an inspiration to hit. Weeks passed and nothing hit. Losing the motivation to learn, write, or even binge-watch Netflix shows, I was quickly spiraling into something akin to nihilism.
What it was, of course, was just laziness, a millennial malaise that’s haunted me for the better part of the last 10 years. At school, I’ve had friends and homework as powerful antidotes; lectures and essays have egged me toward specific goals. Back at home in Irvine, the archetypal Californian suburb, I was a free agent and a prisoner to my thoughts, which were shrouded by doubts and hopelessness. Rather than brainstorming activities to occupy my time at the present–when I had an abundance of it–I lamented all the missed opportunities that awaited me at school, 3000 miles away. I entertained a remarkably narcissistic idea that if I could just crawl back to Manhattan, straight As and new friends and internships and leadership roles would land in my lap–I just need to get close enough.
More out of desperation than ingenuity, I decided to start a blog. I came to that decision abruptly, while feasting on an apple and Game of Thrones. My first sentence? “To be honest, I’ve just about given up on starting a blog.” Halfway through the post, I realized why I had put off the endeavor for so long: I was scared no one was going to read it because I was either too boring a person or too mediocre a writer. I rambled some more about my low self-esteem and stereotypical teenage hobbies. As I kept writing, fingers flying across the keyboard as thoughts tumbled behind, I came to some bizarre conclusions. That we are all boring. That rather than giving you lemons, life is a lemon. That how hard you squeeze that lemon determines how much happiness and meaning you extract from mundane occurrences. In ranting about my insecurities, I slowly forgot about them. That was my “eureka” moment, and the title of the post. Why did I decide to publish this garbage of a post? Because, “Call me vain if you want, but I wasn’t going to let this epiphany go to waste.”
And I didn’t. I wrote almost everyday of the next four months I spent waiting. I continued writing after I returned to NYU. I’ve now amassed more than 2000 followers–1990 more than I’d expected to get. This is the first post I’ve published in almost a year, and it’s just a repost of an essay response to a fellowship application. I prompt asked me to write about a time I took the initiative to organize/start something, and I’m not sure this post answered that question at all. It doesn’t matter, though, because it got me thinking about a period of my life that’s at once so crucial and so painful. A time that I’ve rarely talked to anyone about, a time I’m scared of confronting. A lot of the indifference I feel toward life germinated during this time–the month or so before I started blogging.
I’ve been absent for so long that I sometimes forget I even have a blog. I’m sure I’ll post again, but I’m not sure when. Graduation is less than two months away, and I don’t know if I’ll have any time to write after that. What I can say for certain is that blogging always makes me feel better, just a little more connected and invested in the forces around me. It pulled 19-year-old me out of that period of loneliness. That’s something I don’t think anything else would have been able to do.