And now, to the sex.
I get it, which I don't exactly understand. While much of parenting seems straightforward--feed the baby, clean the baby, read to the baby, comfort the baby -- I get lost once it gets to the part where the baby isn't a baby anymore, but a maturing adult that has to be taught the intricacies of the Labyrinth (shout-out to Guillermo del Toro) in which we wander.
I cannot fathom how my parents have instilled this consciousness, this conscientiousness in me; like I said before, I have traditional Catholic morals that are typically uncompromising, and yet I feel I am free to make sense of the maze before me.
But anyways, as I was saying, while I would not choose the "free-love" 80's vibe that exists in the college culture for myself, I can see why others would. Or maybe I can't. Either way, I don't judge. I let them live, seeking out their own pleasures and passions by whatever means they deem good. Why the moral ambiguity?
For one, not many people I have met here at USC are religious. It's not that they haven't considered the presence of a God, it's just that logically it doesn't make any sense to them. The science, the denial of the biological evolutionary truth by the die-hard Bible-bleeders, the clear lack of solid proof all support their skepticism.
Why should they be denied the greatest pleasure until they get married? What makes the government institution of marriage so special? How are they supposed to know who their true love is without experiencing love with someone else? If they don't know for sure there's something worth being "good" for at the end, why should they wait?
And furthermore, the definition of "good" and "virtuous" is flexible. If they serve their community charitably, donate their talents to the world in the hope of making a difference, and love without the intent to hurt, what "bad" are they really doing?
None, in my book. In fact, by virtue of their actions, I'd take them any day over the Sabbath-respecting, sex-abstaining, LGBTQ-hating "Catholic" any day. Okay, another huge generalization, I know. Not all of those things apply to every traditional Catholic, but I had to make my point. The monotonous, scheduled act of going to Mass every Sunday doesn't make you a good Catholic, or even a good person in general. It's what you do with what you believe. It's how you act in the world that God has given us. And in that respect, my peers here are miles ahead of me and some of the Catholics I know.
But why don't I take part? Well, my own personal beliefs on the matter are heavily aligned with those of the Church. To me, it's an indulgence, an act of gluttonous desire that is succumbed to under a weakness of will. And so, it has become a sort of practice of self-control for me. I don't exactly see premarital sex as sinful. I think Matrimony is an expression, a manifestation of love that is recognized by the Church. I respect that, believe in it's sanctity, and abide by it's teachings.
But If we were to make decisions only based on the Church, the world wouldn't work. No two people see the world the same way; peoples have different religions, ethnicities, histories, cultures, governments, economies. There cannot be an absolute. The only absolute is death. Everyone makes sense of this thing called life in their own way, and their preparation for the imminent is their choice.
While I see chastity as an exercise of my self-control, that doesn't mean I think most my peers around me lack willpower. On the contrary, these are the most driven people I know -- save my sister. She will always have the top spot on lockdown. If they want something, they'll work indefinitely until they get it. They just don't see the world the same way I do, and I'm cool with that. Everyone should be cool with that.
From time to time, I do find myself shaking my head in disbelief, utterly overwhelmed and exhausted by the constant talk of who's hooking up with who, who wants to hook up with who, and who really really wants to hook up with who, who can't because who is already with who. I bury myself in new music and good writing and it all becomes bearable again. After all, it's their life to live! Let them live it.
Me? I'll be here typing away on my computer at 1 A.M. while most of my friends are out partying and maybe getting lucky. I'll be here, the helpless idealist who still thinks there is something romantic and religious in "saving himself" for marriage. Yes, I'll still be here, believing in love and wondering if and when I'll get lucky and meet her. Sorry, I had to throw in a cheesy line. I'll be here, though, even when I get sick of idealism, when I get sick of being stuck here paralyzed with inaction. Then I'll be out there, trying to make people think, smile, laugh, and love with a flash of electrifying realism that spurs me into action.