These days I find myself echoing the sentiment I articulated some time ago (two years now?) about feeling ungrounded in my surroundings. I realized today how tenuous my situation is studying in Montreal right now. I do not have any family here, and I can count on one hand the amount of people who would notice within two weeks if I disappeared. This is in part because I am no longer working for my student association nor on any rugby team. I’ve just moved out of a neighborhood where I lived with a roommate and was connected to a family and their friends, and other friends I had nearby.
What I find most unsettling about this situation is how much it is up to me to decide things. There are no longer any shared understandings about when to eat, what to eat, what time to get up, what time to go to sleep, when and where to work in the house–namely because there is no longer anyone to negotiate and share these understandings with. This fluidity for minor details expands as I continue to develop into adulthood in a world where nothing is set, nothing is decided, and nothing is obvious. I feel this lack profoundly because my family does not come from that place. My family raised me to be an integral part of them for a long time, and instead I broke off and decided to do away with most of what my upbringing was based on. What I’ve held onto is the education I received in American public institutions. I took away the valuing of study, I took away my GPA and my belief in science (social and otherwise) to bring the Truth of how to live and what to do. I have not taken my parents’ religion (though arguably I have filled that gap with a different one), I have not taken many of my parents’ culture or values, I have not taken the path my parents wish I had chosen. Those decisions have been good for me, but have come at the cost of this liminal space where, to allow for the cacophony of differing ways of life to coexist, a vacuum is produced where the individual finds himself hanging, suspended until he deliberately decides to create ritual and choose values to guide his action by. This void, or anomie, liberates as much as it abandons.
Looking forward to going home for the break.