I went a bit late to Vietnamese class today after straightening out some minor confusion over my rent, and trying to figure out the six-dollar deficit in my budget.
The mountains were faintly glowing that Autumn hue again. Yesterday, the weather had very suddenly turned cold from the summer niceness, and today it was still crisp.
As I walked to class and saw a couple of kids pass by… I started wondering what in the world I was doing here.
Usually when I think about the strangeness of being at BYU, I feel grateful. There was a time when I was barred from studying here.
But today, I thought about how young everybody here was. They’re really little kids. I know there are a few here even older than me… but maybe not any who are as "late" as me.
27 is really young to some; it’s young to me. But it’s really old to still be walking to class every day…
My style is different. I imagine that I look like one of the graduate students, or even one of the professors. I’m this old guy who is kind of outside of the main scene of all these kids here struggling to balance their child madness and petty social concerns with their adult studying. I’m just here for my own reasons, my own private research, which I will fulfill before quickly fading away and forgetting about this place.
I walked through the courtyard west of the library and noticed the JFS Building on the left. It’s new, a few years old. When I first visited here, it wasn’t even built yet. I can’t remember what filled that spot; maybe just empty space.
I partly feel that I belong in that buildingless past that I still remember…
Or "belonged", I should say. Nothing can be done about it now.
I looked to the right and saw the Y on the mountain. It was so long ago that I first saw that scene: the lawns in front of the library, the art building, that walkway to the parking lot, and those beautiful mountains with their Y.
The feeling pressed me harder. I should be gone from here… I should already have four years in Asia under my belt by now… or wherever.
I never wanted that life, and still don’t — that fast-paced hyperactivity. Somehow I’ve grown up to demand leisure and comfort out of life. Even now, it’s doesn’t seem worth it to cram my schooling into a torturous year and a half.
I don’t know if I could sacrifice any more than I have already. That is, I don’t know if losing anything else would hurt me as much as the thing I already lost…
Not once, but thrice in a row.
So then, I shouldn’t be in the past — I should rather be dead by now, by rights, as I have written before. How I once longed for it…
Then, to a dead man, every day is just one more bonus. It’s as if my life went badly and ended soon, as happens to some… my funeral was held, and some here mourned a while… and then I somehow got sent back again out of sheer pity.
I shouldn’t wish for that old life…
But still, this is not really my school, this BYU. I’m less of a student and more of a resident alumnus.
Strange, strange life, this. The only worth that really remains, in my eyes, is to try to make my parents proud and my siblings appreciated… and of course, to try to "do no harm", and to continually stand up again after stumbling, and thereby keep for myself the honour of a fixed determination to remain aloof from the insanity drowning this world, which resolve I suppose was a gift of God; that perhaps when I finally depart here, my life, however it ought to have been but wasn’t, might be found not to the shame of God, who made this all… but to his glory.