Monday, February 4, 2013

Elephants and Giraffes

You know how everyone tells you that the last semester of your last year of schooling is supposed to be easy, relaxing, and liberating?


To quote Joe Biden, such an idea is simply "malarky."

Instead, I find myself 1) in a state of seemingly permanent exhaustion, 2) fluctuating between states of constant stress, confusion, and worry, 3) with a profound sense of loathing for Persuasive Writing, 4) making way too many lists, 5) beginning and ending such lists with phrases like "Elephants and giraffes!"

This serves to remind me that it's important to take things one at a time.

Ask me how well I'm doing at putting that into practice.

My response?

Blow it out your ear!

In the midst of all of these things is Teach For America, graduate school, research, presentations for the Pacific Sociological Association conference, and a myriad of concerns over sense of self, self-identity, and the issue of self-actualization. Damn you, Maslow and your hierarchy of needs!

But, as a friend reminds me frequently, the best way to achieve anything is to do it one step, or one bite at a time. This friend asked me once how you would go about eating an elephant. I retorted that elephants are probably a protected species, so eating one would probably land you in a sketchy African prison. Giraffes were obviously the next victim of choice. Again, I responded that giraffes are probably also protected. Since I have no intention of ever ending up in prison (sketchy or otherwise), eating an elephant or giraffe is simply out of the question.

The point, however, was (and is) not lost. Shel Silverstein once wrote a poem about a girl who determined to eat a whale. It took her 89 years, but she did it. One bite at a time. Despite the naysayers, the doubters, and the detractors. One bite at a time.

Morals of the story: 1) Don't ever ask me how to eat an elephant, giraffe, or other large animal that may or may not be a protected species. 2) Never bite off more than you can chew (handy in the case of actually trying to eat an elephant, I would imagine). 3) In such a case that you fail to heed #2, always remember elephants and giraffes.

Finally, I leave you with this video because everybody needs a little pep talk every once in a while. Also, "NOT COOL ROBERT FROST!!" basically sums up some of my feelings currently.