Monday, May 31, 2010

Onward and Upward

When I was younger, setbacks really hit me hard. Five years ago, during my Junior Year of high school, I had my heart set on attending Boys' State, a prestigious leadership conference for rising Seniors that boasts such alumni as Harry Reid, Bill Clinton, and Tom Brokaw, among others.

Only two young men from each participating high school are given the honor of attending, and at my politically apathetic school in Deep South State I was considered a shoo-in to be picked.

In March of 2005, however, my family unexpectedly moved to Southern State, settling in a community where national policy debates carried a lot more weight than they had down in Central City. Unaware of the partisan nature of the American Legion-run program (Democrat that I am, I gave honest answers to the questioners' inquiries regarding my opinion of the Iraq war), I was passed over for two solid conservatives and spent the better part of two weeks anguishing that my aspirations to become an elected official had been squelched before I'd yet seen my seventeenth birthday.

Now, I have a different view of obstacles. I've realized that many things in life are arbitrary, that objectivity is often elusive (and thus that just because someone thinks you're not good enough doesn't make it true), that roadblocks can be sent to teach us something, and that in retrospect many hurdles in fact aren't hurdles at all.

Perhaps it was this attitude that allowed my disappointment with the Local Records situation to melt away as fast as it did. The more problems I run into, the easier they are to brush away.

Yesterday afternoon I was one town over, across the border in the Goldlands, to audition for the lead-singer position in a local band. On Friday, I will head out to another town closer to Major University and do the same thing. Both groups of people seem talented and committed, but if neither takes me I'll look elsewhere. That's all a person can do.

On a level, the extent to which learning acceptance is key to both adulthood and wisdom lets me down. Is it true that we must just take our lot? Is it a foolish man who continues to pursue his dreams? I suppose (and have to believe) that the answer is no. Acceptance means not settling, but taking as a given that adversity will put itself in your way and that you have to deal with it. Struggle makes for better stories anyway.

In the meantime, I've been enjoying myself. The Memorial Day holiday gave me a five-day weekend, which I spent reading, cleaning, and playing outside.

Thomas and I have invented a new game that I think is quite brilliant, but which we've unoriginally christened "Trampoline Volleyball."

This innovative sport is almost exactly what it sounds like.

It's played with two people, one of whom stands inside the netted trampoline while the other hits from the ground. They use the trampoline mesh as the net and conduct a pretty standard game of volleyball, with the one major difference being that only a single point is scored (normally) in a given round; because the person inside the trampoline is at a huge advantage to his counterpart on the grass, his serves onto the turf don't count against his opponent.

Once the person on the ground is able to get the ball onto the floor of the trampoline, though, the two players switch.

A stopwatch runs for the duration of the game, and whichever player can knock the other out in the shorest amount of time wins the preceding round. There are four rounds, and the winner of two (because the winner of one round isn't known until the conclusion of the next one, the fourth round only serves to decide the winner of the third) takes the game.

The winner of each round receives one point.

The clock runs for eight minutes, and if a trampoline player can manage to stay in all that time, he takes two points. Once that happens, the clock is set for nine minutes. If that time were breached, it would go for ten, and so on.

In addition to being ridiculously fun, this pastime makes for some great cardio; a round only counts as full if it goes for more than half of the time on the stopwatch, in most cases four minutes. Given the high rate of turnover, four full rounds can be stretched well over an hour, during which time the player on the ground is running about like mad and the one in the trampoline is bouncing up and down as though a hornets' nest has been thrown in with him.

In the 90-degree heat of a humid Southern State afternoon this makes even me sweat, and at the end of it the combatants are quite envigorated.

I'll be heading to bed soon after finishing this post. Tomorrow and Wednesday are internship days, which means I have to be up at six o'clock in the morning. The lessons and implications of the public relations work I'm currently doing for Major University are fodder for a post all their own, though, one I'll hopefully be attending to sometime this week.


Gauss Jordan said...

Yep; growing up has to happen eventually. I actually realized that I started to grow up the year I stopped having summer vacations - my junior year of high school when I started working IT.

Whenever you're driven to get to the next level, it'll inevitably happen.

Madame DeFarge said...

Growing up is such a pain. I reckon I'll put it off for as long as possible. Love the sound of the game though.

otherworldlyone said...

Growing up is the pits.

Sometimes. Except when you can buy your own booze and get into strip clubs.

You need to give me your email address so I can respond to these wacky comments you leave. :)

Cheryl said...

That game does sound like fun! Trampoline dodgeball....oooo, I wish!!!

I agree. Struggle is just part of the deal. It happens. Nothing personal. Though there are times we bring it upon ourselves and the trick is to learn to tell the difference and then, of course, to learn from our mistakes. Acceptance, while still working towards out goals, is definitely a good way to go.

Have fun at your intern job!!! Hope you learn lots!!!

Selina Kingston said...

Learning acceptance IS part of growing up but it's something that many adults don't master. I don't think I have. I also don't think it means giving up on your dreams. Once our dreams go, what is the point of life? Too many people do give up and then don't understand when and why life became stale and boring and just a day-to-day existence. Don't give up your dreams but do accept that they don't come easily x

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

I think that your attitude is a good one. I don't think you have to ever give up on your dreams, sometimes you just have a wait a little longer than you want...or, sometimes along the way, your dreams take a different turn. All part of the seems as if you are figuring it out pretty well.

secret agent woman said...

Personally made up games are the best.

De Campo said...

As an alum of Boys State, I can safely say you didn't miss out on much besides crusty vets telling grossly exaggerated stories about "the shit" in-between puffs of unfiltered Camels.

Growing up is hard. Especially since Camel unfiltereds are so hard to come by nowadays.