The abyss of life

How the editor-in-chief feels on final layout night. | Drawing: Kevin Niederman

How the editor-in-chief feels on final layout night. | Drawing: Kevin Niederman

Column like I see 'em


This semester has been a blur.

A literal blur.

Monday I wake up, and before I can decide which of my equally hilarious shirts I want to wear, I'm already taking off a choice I don't remember making and crawling back into bed.

We’re a month into the semester, I think, but it feels like everything has just started, like somehow I've been wading through this last month for years.

I don't remember other semesters being this way. Maybe this semester is just busier? Or maybe I've simply been in college too long?

Life right now kind of feels like a TV show. All the main bits are there, and I can basically follow the plot, but all the time intensive bits, the actual journey, are glazed over.

And this scares me.

Will my life be as fleeting as college seems to be? Will I only remember my kids at the big moments, like when they're born or when they graduate? I hope not.

My parents and grandparents always regale me with tales of the big moments, and, more often than not, they speak of such times by saying, “I remember it like it was yesterday.”

I say that all the time, which either means I'm getting old, or this is exactly what life is, a series of decade-long blackouts with brief moments of clarity, where I'll look around and marvel at how I've no idea how I got there.

When I talk about this it kind of makes me sound like some kind of alcoholic or something. “How was your week?” “I can't really remember.”

That sends a red flag most people’s way.

More or less, though, it's basically true. Many of those moments of clarity happen while I'm playing board games, watching cartoons, or otherwise trying to numb myself to a pain I can't quite remember inflicting.  

When I built my first computer I bought a better than average power supply. The idea was that someday I would upgrade and require more power, so I should invest in something that could handle that power when the need arose.

Three years later it finally did.

I bought all new everything, bigger, better, and badder than ever before. I hooked everything up and turned it on.

My power supply exploded.

Even though it was designed to handle a much larger load than I had put it under, my power supply had become complacent in those three years before my upgrade. It was so used to underachieving, it couldn't possibly have handled what it was actually designed to do.

My whole life I've been at recess, playing and coasting on life's highway, and now after a quarter century, it's finally headed uphill, and I'm working my best to scale it.

It's just really hard to remember the journey when I keep passing out from exhaustion.

I'm waking up screaming in the dead of night thinking I'm late for deadlines weeks away. I'm having night terrors about myself strangling a kitten who keeps bringing up something I did in the past. I don't know if this is what life is and will be, or just life right now, but it's daunting, frightening and I don't think I'm alone.

I might be the only one killing cats in his dreams though...

Kevin Niederman is a junior studying nursing