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Thoughts on the Backs of Extra Worksheets

I didn’t even start thinking about it until two months in, then I counted the days and was shocked to see there were more than thirty of them. It’s like dipping your hands into a bucket of sand; pull them up and let the stuff funnel down in between your fingers and your hands are empty again before you know it.

Time is flying. Everything has changed but nothing has changed…

I can’t fathom that it’s been over half a year since I sat next to Morgan in the stadium, cringing and sweating, with my black gown only half-on and my cap in my hands instead of on my head in an effort to bring me some relief in the sticky May heat…A friend texted me “congrats grad!” from somewhere in the stands and I scanned the depths of the crowd for a familiar face.

Now I live in a blue apartment in Bangkok, where I must rise every morning to go to school, where I teach English to hundreds of little Thai children. I took a bus for 180 baht to a beach in Thailand called Hua Hin this past weekend. I ate gai yang and som tam with sticky rice for lunch, and it cost me sam-sib-ha baht.


My life has changed so much and yet the march of time is imperceptible. The growth of my hair, my nails, the alternation between tanned skin and the stark white of a sunny season spent covered in my conservative teacher clothes…

I’m rushing, anticipating, brushing the sand from my hands so time goes goes goes. I’m actively participating in the flow and enjoying feeling like I have no time to think. But things in my mind are anything but atrophying. In this race to March, I know the gears are clinking away, as imperceptible as the ticking clock…I don’t know how- I don’t know the direction in which they are spinning- but things are moving and rearranging themselves inside my mind.

When time finally slows down – or maybe I will stop the music, freeze the game somehow – when this happens, I will dig around inside and see what’s new.

Of course, time isn’t going to stop. But the funny thing is, time also feels frozen.

My old life still exists alongside this new one. It feels like it’s back there in Athens in July 2012 in my apartment on Milledge Chase in my room with the white walls and the white desk and the beige curtains and the Orangina poster, waiting for me.

Maybe I will look into the bucket and see all the sand and it will mean something and then I’ll finally realize July was five months ago.


People just accept that this way is the only way to live. We created this system of business – of money – that now rules our lives. If you remember, it’s not how we were meant to make our livings. We were meant to spend our lives trying to survive – working to find food, water, shelter, and a mate.

Somewhere along the road, our over-evolved brains sent us down this dark path, so now we have too much time on Earth and not enough meaning with which to fill it. How to create meaning out of nothing? How to subvert the societal expectations that we’ll go get a job and waste away the healthiest, most vibrant years of our lives in an office, wishing for the weekend? Counting down the days? Watching our watches? What about Chris McCandless? What about Ishmael?

People say to me all the time, “I wish I could do what you’re doing.”

You can.

Who told you you needed to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground? Who told you you needed to live your life the way you’re living it?


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