On the Purpose and Nature of this Account
I recently started the first structured pursuit of my life that has no foreseeable end. For the entirety of my childhood and recent young adulthood, I spent my days attending classes and lectures and events which were built to begin, continue, and conclude. I’m sure the same is true for you. Even summer jobs, however little I might have let on during the application process, were undertakings that I knew would soon be let go so that the next chapter may begin.
There is no such end in sight for my current job. There is no expected graduation, or certificate to be awarded after a certain number of credits accumulated. There’s simply the task, however concrete or nebulous it might be, which exists in the hours of the weekday as a flat scaffolding around which the rest of my life my grow.
As a good friend recently told me, “You’re out of the theme park.” While the educational experience was not as enjoyable for me as a trip to Magic Mountain, though perhaps as financially draining, I take to heart his point about the harsh transition from what Oleanna’s John would call the ‘artificial prolongation of adolesence.’ After university life, one is given a set selection of idle hours, with an incredible lack of oversight and guidance as to how to spend them.
In such a circumstance, it becomes one to develop a plan. I don’t say ‘routine,’ although an element of routine can be quite comforting, because one might also find that his ideal lifestyle calls for strong element of spontaneity. Spontaneity, too, can of course be planned for.
To this end, I’ve devised a plan, and settled into a routine both comfortable and novel enough to see me through the next six months. As much as I might like to say, “Through the rest of the pandemic,” or, “Through the rest of the current presidency,” I’m nowhere near confident enough to use such unsteady milestones as markers of time. I’m sure most of my contemporaries in the time of this writing feel the same. In short, one element of my plan is to work through notable or interesting texts which cover and comprise the Western canon, starting with Sumeria and continuing in a loosely chronological pattern. The first text on my reading list is Sumerian Mythology by Simon Lopez.
As I read, I’m sure details will be forgotten, so I write this series of posts primarily as a personal account of my reflections on the works while my memory is fresh. If there is any secondary purpose, it is to quietly invite my close friends to share with me in this journey, picking up and setting down the texts on my reading list according to their interests. In this way, we might find some perspective, and have a few pieces of conversation that don’t involve the perpetually calamitous state of the perpetual present.
If you’re here with me now or years from now, I hope you feel welcome to engage and enjoy the discussion.