On the Certainty That Life Is Work, Even for Twenty-Year Olds


In which The Gay Recluse confronts the reality of the past through the eyes of the present.

We recently found out that one of our nephews was having “trouble” at college.

One day he woke up and realized that he couldn’t get out of bed.

So he stayed there for a week, until someone called his parents and they brought him home.

He’s on some kind of medication now and is doing better. He’s headed back to school this weekend.

On the phone, he described what it was like to have his thoughts racing at like 1000 miles per hour, unable to concentrate on anything and — oddly — physically incapacitated.

There’s a tendency to romanticize life at college once you’ve left it so far behind.

We think: how hard could it be to read books, get wasted with some frequency and hang out on Facebook with your friends.

But at the same time, we think of our nephew, who has always been “a good kid” — smart and charismatic, popular yet independent — and how life seemed to mysteriously sneak up on him and crush him when he was least expecting it.

In a way, we think he’s lucky to confront this sort of thing now, when he’s so young.

Instead of waiting ten or fifteen or twenty more years. (The way we did.)

The truth is, you really have to hate life before you can love it.

And just to admit this can make things seem a lot better.

2 Responses to “On the Certainty That Life Is Work, Even for Twenty-Year Olds”

  1. 1 kirsten

    Why is it that twenty years later college doesn’t seem that far away?

  2. Hey Kirsten — wow, that’s a complicated question, I think, that gets into the ambiguity of time; the way years can seem like seconds and vice versa (this is one of the central themes of Mann’s Magic Mountain, if you’ve ever read that?)

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