When my sister gave birth to her son almost 2 years ago and held him in her arms for the first time, I’m sure she felt that she had done something astounding. But when news reached me that my first nephew had been born, despite my elation for my sister and her budding family, I had quite the opposite feeling. All my life I’ve wanted to be something amazing, something beyond normal. I’ve always had grandiose visions of Steven, boy genius, or Mind Reader Balasta, or Dr. Balasta, the Mad Scientist. I wanted to be someone that left a good impression on the world, that improved the lives of everyone around him. I just wanted to be important.
Yet by the time my nephew was born, I felt that I had accomplished nothing. No longer was I eligible for the title of boy genius, and the prospects of developing some sort of superhuman power seemed pretty darn slim. When I looked back on my life, all I saw was some good grades, a less-impressive-than-it-sounds stint at NASA, a few well earned first places in Odyssey of the Mind, and perhaps my proudest achievement of all, a few smiles on the faces of strangers. Here I am, in all of my glory: a fairly intelligent, pretty creative young man with a somewhat charming demeanor, a prime candidate for a slightly better than average life. Where was the boy genius, inventor of anti-gravity at age 14? Where was the budding Dr. Balasta, just steps away from finishing his thesis on a cure for cancer? Dreams, I realized, they died as dreams.
One might read this and think that I’m being too harsh on myself, that no one would ever expect me to be that great. But I’ve always wanted to be the one who defies expectations. I’ve always wanted to be the anomaly, the one that no one expected. Yet as I grow older, the more I realize that I am exactly as expected, nothing more, nothing less. This troubles me greatly.
And here I am, almost 2 years since this rather depressing moment in my life, no closer to becoming something great than I was previously. I’ve tacked on another major since then, making me rather unique in my double major in Chemistry and Philosophy, but still mostly unimpressive. I’m in my final year of college, with no concrete plan, no goal to strive for. I guess you could say that I’ve been stuck in a rut for a few years now. One might even say that I’ve been in a rut my entire life.
For me, this year is perhaps my last chance to climb out of the hole that I’ve been digging since the day of my nephew’s birth. I’ve spent quite a bit of this past summer lamenting to myself and to others about my predicament, but I’m sick of feeling sorry for myself. I’ve got a few new skills, a renewed drive, and an old dream come back from the dead. This blog is the first step to a future untold and unplanned, the first hand out of the hole. I want to show the world that I can be more than an expectation. I do not want to be a writer or a photographer or a scientist or a philosopher: I want to be all of these! I want to become the man of a new age that I wrote of, someone who will pave the way for a brighter future. The boy genius, the superhuman, and the great doctor died as dreams, but Steven Balasta is still alive and well. And this is all I need.