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Columbia Missourian

FROM READERS: Meditation on a new feline

March 16, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

Eric Staszczak is a graduating senior at MU and a recently self-actualized cat enthusiast. He will be working at WXRT in Chicago in May.

Nearly two weeks ago, I took a leap of faith. Not for a crazy experience. Not for a girl. Well, kind of for a girl, but not really for a girl. It seems trivial and maybe anticlimactic, but it was a gray and white 2-year-old cat—white socks on his paws, green eyes that don’t waiver from a stare, a continuous "meow" that can only be the manifestation of his inner monologue. 

He’s weird and I don’t entirely understand him. He’s immediately affectionate and trusting, but subtly emits this confounding haze of anxiety about himself. Like an abandonment issue or a weariness of de-routinization. And I don’t know why I even think about these things or notice them really. I’m supposed to be this productive, ambitious and goal-driven college senior, who’s ready to go out and take on every challenge and define himself in a professional context. 

I don’t think it’s that I’m unprepared, undisciplined or dysfunctional for not really caring all too much for those things, and instead opting for the ridiculous, the instinctual and the exciting, even if that might be just being absurd with the girl I love and a 10-pound cat. Okay, and maybe a High Life or six. But I think any point I’m attempting to make here is that the social norm of getting everything figured out to this extent of five- or 10-year plans and that whole culture that surrounds those ideals may not be the best plan for everyone.

For me, I gain plenty of satisfaction from having my fair share of uncertainty, spending my days and nights with these strange and fascinating people I call my friends and family and appreciating how inherently nice and humanizing it is to come home to a cat with socks that just stares at me and tries to talk to me.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising Editor Joy Mayer.