Tuesday, August 13

new place, new rules?

the rain has welcomed me most wonderfully to the land of Indiana. for example, see these several photographs of the house I am now living in. slick front porch, dripping ivy, neatly-arrayed post boxes and all.
and now orientation has me in its throes and I am collecting moments of glee and nervousness about the impending fall semester.
on my way to this new place from dry, dusty Texas, I had plenty of empty driving time to ponder just how different Indiana would be from anywhere else I have ever lived. not counting adventures in other countries via airports in New York, this little mid-west state is the furthest east I've ever been. there are no roommates. there was no convenient furniture. I have my own space and only my own dishes to wash. I live very close to a muddy but picturesque river. and closer than ever before to a semi-lively, eclectically cute, shop-filled, pedestrian-friendly downtown. my academic experience seems on the verge of quadrupling in intensity.
four years back, when I unboxed the machine upon which I am typing these very words now, I felt faced with questions about how it would change my life and my work. I determined on that occasion that a new laptop needn't revolutionize my life so very drastically. I would be the same person with it. the same rules would suffice. right?

and so they did.
but this time it is not me unboxing new possessions--it's more like I am being unboxed. everything with which I go about my days has been reshuffled and unleashed into almost completely uncharted environs. what new rules and new contexts might I be presented with in this brand-new-but-still-mine life?

in thinking about all this during my drive across the more western side of the great midwest, I remembered a podcast I heard earlier this year. Roman Mars's 99% Invisible had an episode about the one small, simple rule that revolutionized the game of basketball. go listen and/or read about it--I promise it's interesting even if you have no positive opinion of athletic events generally.

I'm also reminded of John Green's ramblings about the value of rules, even arbitrary ones. the video is a bit whiny and strange-ish, but it's the thought I'm getting at. rules can be awesome. (limits are possibilities, you know?)
so I have all these decisions to make. who do I want to be? what kind of scholar and instructor and friend do I want to be? how early do I want to wake up and how much time do I want to spend on this or that or the other?
there are thankfully a few built-in rules that come with my new life. I have classes at these times and these times, and buses run on a certain schedule. sleep is important and food is important.

but then so much of it is left up to me. there's nobody else to expect any certain kind of behavior. I don't have to schedule my showers around any other person or wait while anyone else uses the oven. I can almost do whatever I want.
so what is that going to be? what is the stuff I want to be doing? and when? and how often? to what level of intensity?
it might take me some time to figure all this out. feel free to offer your suggestions.

4 comments:

Janeheiress said...

Your house looks beautiful, from what I can tell. Also, I love pedestrian-friendly downtowns, especially if they have local shops. I was surprised how much fun it was visiting my sis in NC, just walking down a street in a strange town. Unfortunately, the bookstores were already closed. :(

amelia chesley said...

there is a neat little used bookstore on one corner. it's adorable and full of sci-fi paperbacks. maybe I'll find you a pseudo-souvenir from it one of these days...

Chris said...

I want that house. I want it.

amelia chesley said...

visitors are welcome. :)

there are 10 other apartments in the house, chrisface. ditch your lovely island and come join us in lovely Indiana.