In Medias Res

Everything in life is “in medias res.” The beginning for one person is simultaneous with the end for another, and somewhere in the middle for everyone else. By the time you learn enough about the world, you realize just how obvious everything is. We are all stuck in the middle of a pendulum, tumbling to and fro, and just as we start to get our bearings, that fucking pendulum swings back the other way, rendering all of our hard work obsolete. We should know better.

I bought this domain about two years ago. I figured I would start writing on video gaming. I’d include reviews and in-depth analysis of the current trends in the video game industry. The idea was to get something written and “published” as soon as possible so that when I was ready, and had built up a decently sized following, I would be able to apply for my dream job at Game Informer or some such publication. I would read articles and opinion pieces by so-called video game journalists and I was astounded at how underwhelming their writing was.

Then, like always, life got in the way. Laziness, apathy, insecurity—I just wasn’t going to get this website going, no matter how hard I didn’t try to try. So I shelved it, coming in to add a draft of a post that I had thought of every once in awhile, whimsically believing that that was the day I would hit the “Publish” button.

Then something changed. I no longer dreamt of pleasing the growing horde of ever-voracious gamers looking to feast on yet another review of the game they were going to buy anyways. My dream had changed; and this isn’t the first time that had happened.

Dreams are meant to change—they are Change Incarnate. They are a foggy mirror held up to your innermost thoughts and feelings. A child dreams of leaving his home, living free and happy, no restrictions binding him to any earthly matter. That same child may grow to one day want to settle down in an average-sized house on the west side of town and get married—the epitome of restrictive rituals. There is no right or wrong with dreams, though; if you want a new dream, you just have to change what is on display in the mirror.

My new dream started to manifest about a year ago. I decided to go back to school and finish what I had started. I had put school off for so long because I was afraid to admit that I made the wrong choice when dropping out and going to work full time. “But, the money! The freedom to buy…things! Isn’t that what life is all about?” Nonetheless, I made up with myself, swallowed my pride, and decided to go and re-enter the classroom amid a new generation of youth I wasn’t sure I had much in common with. Surprisingly, after a couple classes, I started to realize something: This is where I belong.

Sometimes, the pendulum swings in a way that is quite convenient, allowing yourself, who was falling over beforehand, to gather, even for just a brief time. Looking back on my life, I realize that I had squandered a few of these times before, and probably still do. I would pick the superpower of time travel if I had a choice.

There are three components to the classroom: 1) The instructor, 2) The students, 3) The class material. They all need to work homogeneously in order for the class to be a success. If the instructor cannot teach well, the students will not learn. The material is only as good as it can be taught. This places a lot of pressure on the instructor, but, rightfully so. The instructor needs to be, above all else, concerned. Concerned for the students and concerned for the teaching of the material. If they do not care, then the class will be a lost cause. How they come to that state of concern, or how they show it, is independent to them.

I belong in the classroom, instructing youthful minds, because I am concerned. Deeply, utterly, devastatingly concerned. Above all, I am concerned for the students, mostly because many instructors I come across are not concerned anymore, or are concerned about things that should not matter in regards to the classroom.

How can the students grow to fulfill their own dreams when they are being taught by uncaring, selfish teachers? Do not blame the children; when they were but babes, they were full of potential, wonderment, and dreams. If a child is lost, look to the various instructors in their lives, and tell me if they were ever truly concerned for the child.

I know, I know. “Mike, you don’t understand. The education system is fucked. Teachers are handcuffed, they are not allowed to teach anymore! You will see, you will be broken and beat by the system. Then you will understand the plight of the teacher in today’s America!” —random teacher on Reddit.

You’re probably right, random teacher. I will probably graduate from college, look for a job as a teacher, dreaming of being the next Mr. Escalante, settling for a job as a sub, doing that for a year, realize that I need an M.A. to have a chance at a better job, start doubting my life decision again, buck up and go back to school while doing small teaching jobs all the while never quite liking any of the kids I have taught yet, do this for two years, get my M.A., settling for a job as a sub, doing that for a year, realizing that I definitely made the wrong life decision, get a break at a school I never heard of about two hours away, not liking any of the administration, realizing that I won’t be able to sustain myself on the salary they are offering, contemplating suic….

I know, I know. I have thought about that, I know it’s a possibility. But I don’t care. I am going to do this, logic and rationality be damned. If everyone just stopped dreaming and started acting rationally, there would be zero innovation. The system would never change. I’m tired of letting the pendulum decide what I do next.

The answer to the pendulum problem is to not try and go with the movement; you may keep up for a bit, but the pendulum never tires, it never stops for rest; it is relentless and infinite, and thus, you will eventually be left in the dust. No one will care about how long you were able to keep up, only that now, at present, you are tripping and useless. The answer is to go against the movement. When the pendulum swings left, go right; right, go left. This will allow you to not try and keep up, but rather stabilize yourself. It’s not the speed of the swinging that does people in, it’s the false comfort that everything will be alright forever when they have a bit of footing going with the movement. The pendulum is going to swing; there is nothing anyone can do about it. So just be yourself, there in the midst of things, in medias res, and just take on the movement as it comes.

So, here I am, writing an essay, not for any other reason than it being what I happen to be doing currently. I may never write another post; I may write 1,000 more. It all depends on which way the pendulum is swinging at the time.