As a senior in college, I look forward to the many new beginnings that are fast approaching me—a new internship, new jobs and career to explore, new people to cross paths with, new places to adventure off to, and whatever else “new” that life might bring my way.
I’ve got no clear idea of what I want to spend the rest of my life doing, but I am up for the journey and feel confident that I am not alone during this pivotal moment in life. I am not the only one without a clue or sense of direction and I find comfort in knowing that we are all doing our best to figure it out. We are all hustling to make something marvelous of our lives, big or small, and the only thing we can truly promise to ourselves is take each day at a time and embrace the place where life happens. To live in the present moment, head held high and back to the wind, not worried about the past or future but rather making the most of the very moment at hand.
I’ve been back at school for almost two months now and have been constantly bombarded with questions of my future. “What are your summer plans?” “What does your resume look like?” “How many internships have you applied for?” “Are you graduating on time?” “What’s your next move?” “What’s your 5-year plan look like?”…I barely know what I am going to have for dinner every night so I’m sure you can guess how well answering those questions has been going.
But things got pretty serious when one day I got tired of telling someone that I didn’t have a clue of what I wanted to do. Why don’t I have at least some idea…because I have hopes and dreams as big as the damn ocean but for some reason when I’m asked, “what do you want to do?” I always come up short and default to an answer that is within some broad stroke of communications. Is it because of some social construct that I fear my aspirations won’t be “good enough”? Or is it because I fear failure rather than embrace the opportunity it brings to reshape, refocus or redirect?
I recently found myself passing time in the library before a lecture class. During this time, I spent the majority of it on my computer bouncing around to randomly selected and suggested philosophical sermons on YouTube. Strange, I know, but it was totally inspiring. One that really struck a chord with me was entitled “What do you want, really?” by Howard Thurman. In this 12-minute audio clip, Thurman shares a very insightful message with his audience and talks of the moment that we ask ourselves, “what is the fundamental thing that I’m after with my life?” What drives us forward? He then explains the two types of people in this world. Ones that believe life to be fixed, hard, pre-determined and finished. And ones of the mind that life of its essence is fluid, creative and that purposes, goals, dreams, ideas, etc. can fulfill themselves because of the fluidity that exists in all life.
Thurman goes on to talk of how people who think of life as fixed and hard quickly exhaust their minds and rarely see the light of happiness and that those who believe in the ebb and flow of this creative life remain inspired and respected. As human beings, it is within our very nature to have a pinned goal or dream, or many, that is of transcendent significance to us. The difference in reaching that goal or dream all relies within the heart and mind of the person. It requires a person willing to put all resources to their disposal, a person unafraid of failure and motivated by all of the challenges along the road. Thurman says that this is the kind of world that honors that journey of the mind and spirit that together can say one thing and be that. This is the type of world that validates the struggle of all dreamers and pushes those dreamers to exceed even their very own limits.
Now that my perspective has been adjusted, I am full-heartedly seeking my dreams no matter how unattainable they seem—because to me, that is a life worth living. I hope to get out of my home state and possibly move west, and what better time to do it than now?
No matter what I choose to pursue, I remain hopeful that it incorporates my love for the arts and requires my creativity to be tested constantly. If you too are feeling bogged down by constructs of society, rest assured knowing that this world honors your journey of self-discovery and that there is no “right” path. Always remember to keep an open mind and open heart while exploring the fluidity of the beautiful life you’ve been given. Happiness will meet you along the way.
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman