Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What I know, think, and question

I’m 22 and moving to New Orleans, LA from Modesto, CA on Monday.

I graduated from Yale College in May and am going to start in August as a 7th grade math teacher at Success Preparatory Academy in Tremé through Teach for America.

My last few days in my soon-to-be-ex-hometown have been spent running around to appointments, with quite a lot of familial awkwardness sprinkled in between. Being home so little over the last four years has made every conversation and interaction with my parents and siblings carry far more importance than necessary, and the disconnects and gaps in understanding make for arguments that, in the moment I’m having them, feel regretful, yet unpreventable.

Accepting parental awkwardness, but not shying away from sincerity I hope comes with age. My 22-year-old brain isn’t capable of just appreciating and accepting. It’s crazy how much effort I put into speculating whether my parents are proud of me, whether they are happy, whether they support what I want to do in life, and whether I am preventing them from having “fulfilled” lives. And what is even crazier is how much effort I put into avoiding talks with my parents about any of these questions—even knowing that this only makes tensions, blow ups, and misunderstandings more common.

This week at home has given me a lot of time to reflect on my past and soon-to-be future, and I’ve found that most of my reflections can be divided into three categories: what I know, what I think, and what I question. These may not be related, but it’s coming from the mind of someone who’s life is scattered and about to explode shrapnel in some unknown direction. Here’s a taste.

I know:

The song “Down the Road” by C2C is the bomb.org.

Razzmatazz is the best flavor you can get from Jamba Juice. Period. Stop reading this and buy the damn smoothie.

I want a life and career that show people they are absolutely worth something—that they are infinitely and impossibly beautiful.

I think:

Pete Holmes’ “You Made It Weird” podcast is the best in the game (sorry Maron). Hilarious and full of great conversations about relationships, comedy, and God.

Free association games are great to play with friends. My favorite is to give your friend two words and have them free associate from the first word to get to the second. For example: free and snake. Free, Freeman, Morgan, Organ, Pipes, Piper, Viper, Snake. Feel what you feel? That’s called joy.

Therefore I think.

I’d rather have a life of volatility, with high highs and low lows. The day before my last college final, I fell in love with a girl I had liked since freshman year. Although it didn’t make sense in terms of timing (and didn’t ultimately work out), we had a two-week relationship that I wouldn’t have traded for anything. Life will not be static. Neither should my decisions.

I question:

The plausibility of pepperoni pizza lunchables. How are they SO GOOD? There’s gotta be a tradeoff—what drugs are they putting in them to cut down on cost and make them taste like magic? I’m skeptical.

Why stoppage time in soccer is so seemingly arbitrary. Shouldn’t they be able to tally up the time when the ball is not in play and have that be stoppage time?

Love—why is it always the people we care most about that we so often hurt the most?

Keep it crispy,
John Gonzalez
johnbarongonzalez[AT]gmail.com
Modesto, CA

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