Buddhist wisdom says, “All human beings want the same thing, we are just going about it in different ways.” This is true. So long as what every human being wants is to make it through the next three weeks without losing their minds, drinking enough caffeine to wake a rock and alienating everyone they love. Otherwise, it's only me that wants that.
As regular readers know, I'm currently enrolled as a full-time university student. And, for students, the next three weeks are Crunch Time.
Anyone who has ever been in school will remember that Crunch Time refers to “the period during which you realize your life has gone right down the pooper because suddenly, the fact that school libraries are open 24 hours a day seems like a really good thing.”
If asked to define my life at this moment I'd say, “Life is what will begin again after I hand in my last paper on Dec. 18.” Or, “life is what will be worth living if I manage to pass my course on Hermeneutics of Pauline Response, even though I have no idea what that means.” Or, “I am a hamster on the essay wheel of life.”
Really, I ought to have a more thoughtful view of existence. After all, I've spent the last eight years studying theology. Theology loosely defined means, “The study of the thing we call God, though not everyone calls it that, some people call it 'a nice walk on a sunny day' and anyway we can't really know anything about it, but hey, why not pony up several thousands of dollars to get a degree in it anyway?” It's not insane to get a degree in something that's entirely incomprehensible. Think of students taking biophysics or women's studies.
I think what I've learned through years of studying Christian theology is this: the Buddhists are right. We do all want the same things. And neither of them, really, are an A in Biblical history or a pass in choir. What we want is to feel loved and valued. And maybe, during the Crunch Times of life, that has to start with ourselves.
So, I'm putting down my essays for an hour. I'm treating myself to a walk in the miraculous November sunshine. Will it improve my school marks? Probably not. But I'm aiming for something higher. I'm going for an A in life.