Quintessential Kenyon: Student Life, Uncut

Spontaneity or Stagnancy: Where does Life Fit in?

Jake Fishbein
January 23, 2013

Life can be monotonous. Each week running into the next, fostering an ideology of stagnant existence where only the changing seasons announce the passage of time. Here at Kenyon I often find a pronouncement of this repetitive phenomenon. Each day I perform essentially the same actions with little variation, occasionally indulging in slightly guilty pleasures like an episode of Archer or ordering pizzas from Lou Malnati’s in Chicago. As much as I look forward to the staple episodes of my Gambier existence I often yearn for a more adventurous and spontaneous way of life.

To me the concept of dropping everything and engaging in an impulsive activity is as tempting as baseball on a hot summer day or salty popcorn at a blockbuster. I like to believe that all I need to do is take a step in any arbitrary direction to transform the inertness of life into a fully functional and mobile reality. I’ve written on this in my own philosophically-autobiographical way, but as is so often the case I frequently fail to put my own advice to work.

Instead I find myself happily content in an atmosphere where little changes from day-to-day. Indeed, I immensely enjoy the experiences I can predict. Weekly lunches at the Gambier Deli, Track Meets every Saturday, and sitting for hours in the Great Hall all combine to create a cohesive image of what I love about being at Kenyon. And yet, there is still an urge within me, a certain wanderlust, to explore, to take risks, and to develop as a human being.

(Photo Courtesy of Kat Dougherty)

But when I think hard about it I realize that the spontaneous events that I so desire are present right before my eyes. While my aspiration to sail the Mediterranean, perhaps a hopeful attempt to endure my own Odyssey, is certainly curbed by the geographic location of this home, there are many exploits to undergo here in rural Ohio. Be it deep frying delicate twinkies, “deer hunting” at the local Antique Store, or eating delicate cheeses with my buddy Willy (who recently returned from philosophizing in India) while watching Sleeper in Higley Auditorium, there are opportunities to explore the depths of my own soul along with the physical characteristics of this bountiful land.

Perhaps life simply is repetitive, but I gather that if life was always one spontaneous exploration after the next it would merely assume a different type of monotony. And while I may dream of meeting nymphs in marble palaces in the uncharted corners of the sea, I realize that I have found a home where the spontaneity and stagnancy of life have combined to create an imperfect world that I adore.

And so when I think about it, I realize that I am very happy where I’ve landed.