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Life is a Catch-22

February 15, 2011

Author Joseph Heller hit it dead on in his novel, “Catch-22”.  To sum it up he critiques bureaucratic operation and reasoning throughout the book.  “Catch-22” is a military rule which basically prevents anybody from avoiding going into combat.  As Heller states:

“There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind.  Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.”

I am usually a fan of non fiction books, and memoirs, but “Catch-22” is a novel that I can fully relate to at this stage in my life. Every action taken leads to some kind of reaction and that reaction cycles back to another action.  Call it a “double-bind” or “no-win” situation, the insanity continues for everybody.  The happy medium that I discussed last night is going to collide with turmoil on a consistent basis.  My insomnia has gotten worse as of late, and I have only been sleeping 3-4 hours a night.  I  spend countless hours trying to grasp how to get out of this vicious cycle.  “Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to”.  Either way isn’t this insanity?  No matter what situation Orr was in, he was trapped into these combat missions.  I really relate myself to Orr as I just want this merry go round to run its course and stop moving for a second.  As Orr was trapped in combat missions, I am trapped in an isolated entrepreneurial bubble.  The more effort and passion I have for my business, the more successful I will become financially.  This comes with the burden of having to make tons of personal sacrifices.  I am one of the least religious people out there, but I do feel blessed to be in the position I am in. However, sometimes I just wish that somebody else was in the drivers seat for just a day and I can  be cruising in the passenger seat with the windows down and not a worry in the world.  Everybody always thinks that I have it made and that life is just a breeze.    I chose this life when I was eighteen years old.  Back then I was too naive to understand the concept of running a business.  In hindsight that was probably the biggest “Catch-22” of my life up until now.  I could have been out at the bars raging throughout my college life, I could have also gone abroad with all my friends during my junior year and had the experience of a life time. I decided to stay back in Bloomington and take a semester off and focus on Btownmenus.   All of that is irrelevant now, but six and a half years since the inception of my business, the puzzle is far from being solved.  Why am I moving to Denver?  For the same reason that I didn’t study abroad, and for the same reason why I spent every summer in Bloomington for five years straight.  I feel like I have a choice, but I really don’t.  Its such an odd predicament to be in because I am not being forced by anybody except myself to do anything right now.

I look back to the road trip that my family took together out to Bloomington, Indiana back in August of 2004, right before freshmen year began.  I was sitting in the back seat with my brothers, sunglasses on, windows down, headphones draped over my ears, with a CD player (these were the days before Ipods) and some mix tapes that I had strung together in the days leading up to our departure. and that is truly the last time I can recall being stress/worry free.  I need to figure out a way to get this puzzle pieced together, so that life can be a Catch-22 (because it always will be in some sense), but I can still be sane and have a “normal life”.  Off to the daunting task of trying to fall into a deep sleep, which hasn’t happened for me since that simple family road trip heading out to Btown, back when this all started….We stopped in Dayton, Ohio at around 2 in the morning to get some shut eye before my big move in day at IU.  I was driving as we headed into Dayton, and I remember that my entire family was asleep.  Being so eager to get to school, I tried driving past the signs for the hotel exits, but my father awoke on instinct and directed me to pull over at a Hampton Inn. You would think that your night right before the first day of college would be sleepless and filled with anxiety/excitement.  For some reason, that night I hit the pillow and was out like a light.  That light hasn’t gone out ever since, which is in itself, a Catch-22.

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