On the Resumption of Completion


After a year-and-a-half of procrastinating, interrupted only by irregular fits of overcompensating hysteria, I’m finally working on my thesis.

This is the only thing in my life I can recall having ever put off completing with alacrity, and as with all exceptions to personal rules we’re proud of, has been a source of almost constant anxiety: Why am I suddenly being irresponsible? I never used to be this way before. What if I do the same thing with other things I’m up to? Why can’t I do the same thing I’ve always done?

I suspect that a large part of the uncharacteristic procrastination has to do with the premature fulfillment of the intention I’d had in taking up a Masters degree in philosophy. I was, very literally speaking, looking for the Meaning of Life (something we all seem to invariably misplace), and I wasn’t entirely satisfied with Douglas Adams’ “42.” My thesis was to supposed to the grand summary of my Answer to the Question, except that after a semester’s worth of negative theology in Sir Eddie Boy Calasanz’s medieval philosophy class, I realized that the only acceptable answer to the only question worth asking is summarized by the Hindu expression “neti, neti“—which simply means “neither this nor that.” And since I don’t possess a scholar’s aptitude for transforming cryptic slogans into multi-volume works, the motive force for writing my thesis completely disappeared.

Which left me with that irritating class of obligations known more commonly as “those things we simply have to do.” And I went right ahead and didn’t do it. At least not until now.

So what has me finally doing it that hasn’t worked for the last eighteen months? I’m not very sure myself because the immediate circumstances haven’t really changed. What I suspect is the fact of my turning thirty—and how that event has spurred the closure of unfinished projects I started in my twenties.

After all, everyone tells me that this is one of the most powerful decades in a person’s life. And I’d rather start it on a squeaky clean slate.

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