Loneliness in Summer

photo by music4life

One of the things I dislike the most is unstructured free time over break. As much as it’s relaxing and I get to sleep in for more than 8 hours a day (which I rarely get to do at school, if at all), it can be mind-numbing for me to not have something to look forward to do for the day. To not have a goal is quite pointless. Pretty sad. In fact, many times I feel very lonely during this free time.

I don’t know about you, but for me, I love to be busy. I thrive in being busy. The stress, the exhilaration, the procrastination. All these things bring me some purpose in life. At the start of summer, I tried to replicate many of these things, even though I knew I would fail. I tried to think up many ideas to work on and keep in contact with friends. I attempted to collaborate on ideas for potential ventures while discussing news and tech-related stuff with others. I challenged myself to pray more for people, read the bible and attempted to finish two Christian books that I looked forward to. But I realize that my self-motivation could only go so for. I could only do so much.

Since I finished school, (after a short motivation burst) I’ve found myself lying on my bed, neck aching from the uncomfortable positions my body has taken in order to stare at my phone screen, computer interface, or the floppy pages of a book. It seemed useful at first catching up with hours of TedTalks, Psychology insights, Hearthstone, entrepreneurial tactics, and cool programming projects people have made. But it eventually seemed pointless. I felt like I was learning, but I found myself questioning its usefulness. I was entertained, but I felt empty. Life seemed easy, but it was boringly hard.

It was especially hard since I had my wisdom teeth pulled recently. I’ve never had my teeth pulled, so I was pretty nervous before the operation (and I tend to overexaggerate events, especially related to surgeries/operations) Before the operation, I had several existential crises, countless anxiety moments, and sadly several doubts in God nights beforehand. Looking back on it, I’m grateful because it challenged me in my faith and revealed to me many flaws and fatal beliefs I had that were not aligned with God, but it was pretty painful.

Fortunately, the operation itself was really smooth. The numbness of the local anesthetic so evident that my mouth felt like swollen pieces of meat hanging from both sides of my cheek. When the (two) tooth was pulled, sure, it was uncomfortable while the dentist pushed my face against the operation chair as she attempted to pull out my tooth (I remember vaguely feeling my face squashed against the head of the chair), but besides that, I only felt a slight amount of pressure and minuscule amounts of nerve tingling in my mouth.

With empty sockets and chunks worth of blood flowing into my mouth, though, I became limited to what I could eat. Even though for missions preparations, we fasted every Thursday, I had to go through excruciating pains of only being able to eat ice cream, chicken soup, and potato chips. Those foods may sound great to eat, but imagine having the inability to chew with the back of your mouth. No more smacking or mindless chomping. I could only chew food (other than ice cream) with the front of my teeth. Additionally, I had to make sure when I swallowed, that the pieces of food went down a straight path from the front of my tongue to my throat without touching the wounds in my mouth (so the blood clots wouldn’t loosen or get embedded with food particles). Arduous and painstaking. And most of all, though these foods like ice cream and chicken soup are good for the first 2 bowls, they can become very bland. Especially with the ice cream, the effects of having 2 bowls of vanilla ice cream was sweetingly sickening, in which I experienced much queasiness and discomfort. After the anesthetic lost hold over my mouth, man, it was so hard, I usually don’t go for painkillers, but I downed two Advil like I was about to lose my whole face.

But anyways, I digress. Basically, having wisdom teeth pulled was hard, because I no longer could eat whatever I wanted. I couldn’t gobble down food to ease my boredom. And because of all this, I started to become lonely.

This is a weird phenomenon, but it makes sense. Every time I go home for the break, or for a few days, I feel out of it. Very lonely. I feel like I’m not where I’m supposed to be. At college, all my friends are hanging out, but when I come home to Dallas, I’m basically all by myself. I do get to see my friends, but they also have their own circle group of friends in the area. And yes, I am with my parents, but during the week, they hold a 9–5 job as engineers, so we don’t really go anywhere. Additionally, since I don’t have my driver’s license, I can’t go anywhere. So I feel so lonely or lifeless when I’m at home. I don’t really know what I’m supposed to do. Especially since it’s summer, there’s not really much to do alone.

And in my opinion, that’s such a sad conclusion to come to. Because I have a lot to look forward to. There’s so much I could actually be doing. I could be working on the startup ideas that I’ve collaborated already with several friends. I could be further hashing out the details to the 24-hour personal God time event idea that I would love to see executed in Austin (and globally). I could be coding up one of the many project ideas I had, such as a “How Photogenic are you” App, or an interactive Conway interface that would work similarly to /r/Place that Reddit released for April Fools. I could be memorizing Sermon on the Mount, exercising more through push-ups, or praying for my team, for the city of Michigan, for financial support, and for my own heart in preparation for missions. I could be reading up on “Desiring God’ or “Gospel Fluency”, further growing, challenging, and trying to better understand my faith and how to live out imitating Christ in my daily life. But I’m not doing any of that.

It’s not that I don’t have much to do since I’m alone, but rather I don’t have any self-motivation or goals for the things I have to do for the summer. I do have goals and expectations from people, like my missions preparations for CSMP, my duties within my startup group, my maintenance of safety and health from my parents, or my obedience in following my dentist’s advice of “no licking, sucking, or spitting with the mouth”.

But I myself have not yet accepted any of it. I haven’t been intentional with my time. I haven’t stewarded well the opportunities and tasks that I’ve been given. I am not taking action.

So maybe within these next few days, rather than lying around, moping about, and wishing I could do more, maybe I should actually stand up (and not faint from low blood content). I should take risks of moving away from mindless thinking. I should challenge myself to do what I need to accomplish for the summer. I should start restructuring and rebuilding my life so I don’t waste away this precious time. I should be doing this, not only because of the advice and wisdom from other people but also because the inherent desire and want (with God’s strength and power) I have.

I don’t want to be lonely. I want to live.

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