I used to write in diaries. I traded dark under-eye circles for tiny tirades and forays into self-discovery. There were always prettier notebooks to use, but I waited until the first was filled to start the next, always more intricate, always more satisfying journal.
Upon realizing that such private catharsis could lift me out of limbo—neither child nor adult, ball and chain rooted in a house identical to those next to it—I wrote more and more, and waited to see if I would produce anything of note. But in waiting to grow up, I realized that I had. My diaries became drudgery, and self-awareness stopped the self-centered ranting.
Urban legend tells me that I will spend two weeks of my life waiting at traffic lights, and, since I’m no longer feeding diaries with restless nights, up to thirty years asleep.
Now, there is no time for journaling at night, and the treasured minutes between sleep and consciousness grow shorter as the workload increases. I couldn’t drive for most of high school, but I had friends who did, and sometimes (straining their necks over steering wheels, glancing left, right, up, forward, backward, down, away) they drove straight through red lights: we didn’t wait at all.
I don’t want instant gratification, though it has become the order of the 21st century. Give me the in-betweens, the pauses between one extreme and another: let me wait, let me readjust, and then I will walk purposefully forwards.