Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Random Law School Update 25

Last Location: Wilmington, DE
Arrival Date: May 21, 2011
Departure Date: June 25, 2011

Current Location: Washington, DC
Arrival Date: June 25, 2011
Departure Date: August 14, 2011

Next Location: Wilmington, DE
Arrival Date: August 14, 2011
Departure Date: August 26, 2011

Life has been very fast paced and future-forward lately and I had planned for this update to reflect that. But, nostalgia has a way of hitting at precisely the same moment that I find myself with time to write…

One day, in eighth grade, I realized that I was bored. The boredom permeated my existence and slowly threatened to rot away the things I loved most about life. My inspiration, passion and motivation all teetered on the verge of extinction and I watched any chance of future happiness start to slip through my grasp. I decided then that boredom had to be avoided at all cost, even if it meant taking great risks or working very very hard. Even if it meant forcing myself to do things that would likely cause me great stress or pain.

My law school life has been full of hard work, heartache and happiness, all arising in some way or another out of my efforts to eradicate boredom. I literally started boxing last semester. The gym offered a class and I took it. I’ve been boxing figuratively too. I’ve thrown several knockout punches lately. I pulled two mind-blowingly good summer job offers out of a less-than-hopeful job search. I pulled wins in three out of four of my Spring classes. I pulled off two months of non-stop finals. I quit chocolate—4.5 months ago.

I’ve taken my share of hits as well. Every so often I find myself floored by a hook that takes me off guard in a brief moment of feeling winded. And I am forced to take some unscheduled time to reflect. I used to think that people who engaged in sports that guarantee injury were crazy. But I now know that the adrenaline accompanying the fight far outweighs the pain of the blows incurred. The sensation of pain is nothing compared to the bliss that accompanies it as the body releases a mass of endorphins to cope with the injury. I can’t risk taking a literal punch to the face or gut right now, not with my condition, but I suspect that the whole process is incredibly addictive once the body learns to love the sensation of pain.

I have been training myself to love the sensation of pain, particularly emotional pain. I have wanted to do this for a long time. I remember thinking one day, also around eighth grade, that the key to happiness was to like as many things as one could. That way, all the things that might otherwise bring me dissatisfaction would instead bring me pleasure. In keeping with this I thought, what if one liked the sensation of being hurt? It could be the answer to happiness! When I encounter pleasure, I will be happy. When I encounter pain, I will also be happy—such that nothing, except perhaps boredom, will make me unhappy.

But it is hard to train oneself to enjoy pain. It takes an incredible amount of practice. And the opportunity to practice enjoying pain requires a multitude of painful experiences, which are hard to commit oneself to unless they are thrust upon you. I have had a lot of opportunities for practice lately. Lucky because I think that someday I will succeed in my goal of eliminating unhappiness by learning to love sadness.

In the meantime I celebrate a life that is, if anything, not boring.