A few hours ago I was walking across campus and suddenly realized how much can change in a year's time. I can't really remember what sparked the initial thought, but I started thinking about where I was and how my life was going a year ago compared with how it is now.
New job, new apartment, new roommates, new significant other...still working on the same degree though. But, in all of that, I realized how incredibly happy I am now. Everything is really working out. The weird thing is that a year ago, I don't think I really understood how unhappy I was. Or, more importantly, how discontented. I think I'm blessed (or cursed?) with the ability to feel pretty content with my situation even when I'm not actually at all. It just goes with my smiling personality. :-)
At this time last year I'd been thinking about all the parts of my life that were bringing me down for a while, but it is only by being able to compare it to a now better period in my life that I am able to see how much contentment I was lacking.
Oh sure, school is stressing me out. But is it really? I don't think so, certainly not as much as it was last fall. And, when it is it is usually my fault simply because I've gotten really lazy and unmotivated. And the fact that I still don't have a car is frustrating...random other things...but that's all minor.
I have a job that I not only love, but in which I'm learning a lot and doesn't cause me any great stress. Graduation is in site, finally. I have cool roommates... And I have someone with whom to spend my time that just seems to understand and appreciate me...and vice-versa, with very little effort. Plus, we have similar interests academically and recreationally, which is a nice change. And he's funny as hell. But don't tell him I said that. Just tell him I said he's stupid.
The whole thing just makes me smile and be appreciative of life's peaks when we reach them. I suppose it makes me appreciate the valleys more too. Although, valleys are so frequently breathtakingly beautiful in and of themselves that it's a little unfortunate to use them as a metaphor for life's low points. But then again, maybe that's the point. It's poignant and painful, but there is as much beauty to be had in life's lows as in the highs.
I think I digressed somewhat. I'm not sure. My point was that the low points give more reason to value the high points. I guess it's just like I was sort of telling Travis about the other day...how reading and seminaring Brave New World in high school made me realize I wouldn't want a life that was all full of happiness. Happiness is too fleeting, and without sadness (or other negative spectrum emotions) how can there be any tangibility or true appreciation for those on the positive side? But...the same realization did also lead me to the conclusion that I could and should aim for overall contentment. One does not have to be happy to be content, one can be unhappy...but it also has the power to be lasting and real and to mean something with out the contrary.
A life without contentment is worth seeking a change for...without happiness, not necessarily.
I dunno. I think I digressed again. I just felt like talking about how happy I am AND CONTENT!
In other news, I swam today. It was the first time in ages. Damn I'm slow. I swam for 30 minutes and got in 13 laps. The biggest contributing factor to me being slow is my atrocious form. And that's just because when doing the crawl I'm not very good at keeping a steady pace that allows me to comfortable exhale with my face underwater and inhale every so often on an upstroke.
I start out a lap that way...but usually only make it a quarter or a half length before I feel so out of breath that I end up just turning my head from side to side on every stroke. Tonight, before I even got into the pool I had vowed to work on that, and I was with a moderate amount of success.
At one point I reach the end of a lap and turned to my right to notice that the guy swimming in the lane next to me had stopped and was staring at me. Initially I was a little creeped out...but then he said to me, in what sounded to me like a Mexican accent "Keep it up, just work on breathing underwater."
At which point I was a little annoyed and embarrassed that he had clearly been watching my horrible form. But then I got over it. He told me he is a swim coach and gave me some pointers. He stopped a few more times and encouraged me. As we were each leaving the pool we chatted a bit and after inquiring about his accent, I found out he's from Manzanillo, Mexico (the one south of Puerto Vallarta, not the one east of Mazatlan.) At that point I jokingly said he could help me with my Spanish and my swimming.... and proceeded to start speaking Spanish to me at a rate far too quick for me to get it all. But, I was excited because we had the rest of our conversation in Spanish!
All that aside, I'm again toying with the idea of training for the Gold Nugget Triathlon. It's a long time from now; theoretically if I worked hard enough I could have good proper form by May...slow proper form, but good none the less. Speed wouldn't really be the point so much as the accomplishment anyway.
The last thing I felt like sharing was this recipe for Maple-Tahini Roasted Tofu. I'd had the page marked in the Eating Well for weeks and finally got around to making it last night. It was so good! I omitted the black pepper and salt, just as a matter of habit. And accidentally omitted the sesame seeds because I forgot to buy them. I served it on soften bean threads, which I thought went pretty well.
While mine did not look nearly as pretty as the picture, I did think it was one of those most visually appealing things I'd made in a long time. I should have taken a picture myself.
Next time I make it I plan to add a little more tahini...and to remember the sesame seeds (because as Travis pointed out every time he suggested adding cashews) it needed something crunchy. But it was quite tasty, and easy...so I think I'll definitely be adding it to my regular repertoire. I suggest it!
That's all. I should be doing stuff. Namely studying.