The semester began and with it came a few thousand vibrant, vital youths each eagerly seizing every day like a kleptomaniac in a calendar shop. It is exhausting to watch so much enthusiasm, and it will be worse watching this new student body plummet from its massive life-high in a few months when midterm grades come in. I’d like to preempt the fall and say to every new college student: don’t seize the day.
Let me contextualize a bit. My definition of seizing the day is taking every opportunity to make the present fantastic, and it sounds wonderful. What an ideal life you’d have if every moment was locked in your grasp, if you controlled every day, if your life was a nonstop seizure. It would be wonderful if you could make every moment a fresh, new experience. There are, I think, two types of people who live in this way: children and drug addicts.
If ever there is a statement to quote me on, let it be this one: there is almost no difference between a child and a meth addict. Both are loud, sticky things with little respect for boundaries; both treat public places as their restroom and public restrooms as fecal-art galleries. And really what unequivocally binds drug addicts and children is their sense of immediacy. When a child wants a toy, it does not want that toy after a few weeks of paid labor. No, it wants that thing right now, and you’re trash if you cannot provide it. Similarly, a drug addict–a proper addict with scabs and skin that looks wet but isn’t–will stab your face right off if you’re in the way of what they want.
There is a great reason why children mature and drug addicts tend to die in puddles of themselves: their habits are unsustainable. If your life is devoted to instant gratification, you are guaranteed only gratifying instants and not much else. Instant gratification is the sugar high of ideologies, briefly wonderful then a crash when the high inevitable fails. That is no way to live.
So, new students and anyone else, for the sake of your health, do not surrender to your impulses or the advice of fictional poetry teachers. Instead, carefully plan your spontaneity to avoid financial, academic, or social repercussions. Don’t spend your days climbing trees or flying kites or having promiscuous sex with strangers in movie theater bathrooms. That kind of behavior causes broken limbs and babies, and nobody wants those.
However, you can plan for your good times. Save money; don’t use your sick days at work; do homework in advance, and write down everything your impulses told you to do. Then, when you’re prepared, take a few days off work, drive a couple of towns over or even out of state, then blast your way through that list because nobody knows who you are.
Or, alternatively, buy a whole cake, and eat it in the dark.