Moderation: Is Stability Worth Sacrificing the Highs?

I didn’t get into Hinduism and South Asian Culture this spring or Intro to Asian Religious Traditions in the fall. This is really very bad because if I can’t learn how to meditate and gather karma, then I’m probably not going to liberate myself from the Samsara cycle of reincarnation and suffering anytime soon, at least not in the next couple hundred lifetimes, and I might have to spend one of them as a palm tree if I’m particularly naughty.

However, I’m not too depressed about it just yet (“it” being the meaning of life, perceived metaphysical insignificance, and other Homo sapien insecurities). That’s because the new-age yuppy-isms (or hard-core Eastern philosophy, whichever you prefer) that I’ve begun to utilize have a tendency to distract the mind, if only for a little bit, from life’s mild annoyances. Mild annoyances that spring up like teenage forehead zits and end up mushrooming into tempests of Jersey-Shorian magnitude.

Take, for example, the time your cell phone didn’t turn on and you couldn’t booty call that sure thing whom you wanted to booty call. And you were too lazy or awkward to walk up the stairs to her room. So you broke the fridge in a Jurassic rage. Not very zen.

Or the B+ in that class when you really should have done better. And now D.E. Shaw won’t look at your resume. A soul-numbing perversion! And even if you didn’t publicly shed a tear or bitterly confront the responsible douche, you were definitely glassy-eyed and speechless when you checked your grades online on the very first minute of Jan. 4. A little bit of meditative patience could have been useful then.

What about that time your ex-girlfriend started dating that kid you used to beat in tennis? The one you half-jokingly used to refer to as The Ogre, whom you never really imagined acting in any sort of sexual capacity until now, when you just can’t help but wonder if he lasts longer than you do.

It happens to us all.

So now one wonders if it’s good to feel these fluttering emotions. If “Screw The World, Mah Life Sux!” outbursts might be beneficial in some nasty way.

Do they propel us to new academic or, more importantly, sexual heights as we strive toward an impossible perfection? Or do they create a situation in which we illogically feel the need to bankrupt ourselves of a simple, rewarding existence?

A range of characters, both real and imagined, have grappled with the implications. From J.D Salinger’s Teddy and Harry Potter in teenage crisis mode to Ignatius Reilly (to whom my dubious comedic efforts are indebted), Jack Bauer, and even Jenna Jameson in Briana Loves Jenna. (Maybe the last example isn’t so illustrative, but rent the Adult Video Network’s highest grossing DVD of 2002 and judge for yourself.)

Should we really just throw our natural emotional responses away? What if the answer isn’t so black and white? (Real profound, I know.)

Suicide, depression, and therapy bills are all rising. Is this a damning condemnation of our modern fixation on the soap opera lifestyle? Perhaps, but when we all got our acceptance letters and screamed, “Yes! I don’t have to go to CMC or Williams any more! Yes! Yes! Yes!” and felt really, truly happy and jumped and screamed and poured André all over ourselves, it felt good! And sadly, it may not be possible to reach emotional highs that extreme without cannonball-ing down to surface on rather trivial lows from time to time.

Would it be worth it to take the calm, pleasant middle ground and avoid pathetically sobbing in the aftermath of failed booty calls, even if it meant giving up celebrating like Elle Woods after her Harvard Law School graduation?

I don’t know, but I still can’t restrain my joy at not having to go to CMC. Yes! Yes! Yes!

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