Not too long ago, within the last few hours, I decided to let myself go and imagine that I no longer had to worry about finishing my PhD; that I no longer had to worry about continuing to condemn myself to this miserable existence in the history of science. A funny thing happened: I found that I didn’t want to run out into Hyde Park and start taking photographs or bask in the sun; on the contrary, I found myself digging underneath my couch to find my old editions of the the University of Chicago Great Book series and running to my desk to pull down the Great Treasury of Western Thought, once one of my favorite books. Once again Augustine and Aeschylus were full of mystery and wonder for me, and even Darwin himself became interesting. I opened up my copy of Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle and found myself not troubled by the “need” to remember key sections of the work and to find some answer to a question; no, I discovered it, really for the first time, to be an adventure story that rivals the accounts of some of the greatest voyages ever known. Strangely, I remembered almost everything I read. In the past, I would pick of the book, and in my worry and perhaps somewhat affected studiousness, I would go whole pages and suddenly look up and realize that I really remembered nothing about what I had just passed before my eyes.
This is who I used to be; once there was a time when all the world’s vagaries and mysteries were all my passion, and I sought to learn with the determination of a person whose life depended on the accumulation of knowledge. Once standing on the edge of the ocean awoke in me dreams and ambitions; this comes as quite the contrast from a recent trip in which I found myself merely calmed and relieved by the view. The latter almost seems to reaction of a man weary of life in general, and while the feeling was certainly a peaceful one, the awareness of the situation from which it arose rather disgusts me.
It is good to live again; for so long, I did not feel alive. I have been a shell–a ghost–of my former self. This morning, the thrill of learning returned, but only because I had released my mind from the concerns of my PhD here. What happened this morning was but another step in this process of awakening, a process I know started with the discovery of Evonne, the love of my life and the manifestation of my dreams. She has led me from that darkness, and I wish that she had been here to see my excitement. Spring is coming. No, it is already here.