Is it possible to simultaneously feel so incredibly inspired, feeling so lifted in your heart with all the power to take on the world and every challenge along the way, while at the same time cowering in the presence of hardship and adversity? If it wasn’t possible before, it definitely has become a possibility… leave it to me to light the way. I wonder if it’s a curse or a blessing, the ability to want to achieve so much with such little time and resources. I sit in my room, completely procrastinating on my actual work (which is TECHNICALLY work I should do, but at the same time, there is no pressing need to actually do it; consider it an excuse to not go out tonight) thinking and bogging down my mind with all the goals and aspirations I have. Should I do Teach For America after my undergrad? Should I go straight to law school? If I do, should I start preparing my application now? What about my Honors Thesis proposal? When the hell is that due and how much do I need in it? What if I go to Graduate school before law school? If I do that, what will my focus be? Should I just say fuck everything and pursue music? If so, how do I secure my future with academics before I take time off from it? How long will that time off be?
…Enough with the questions, but you get my point… And please, don’t let me lead you astray, to believe that only poor I am faced with these challenges. My point here is that I, just like every other paranoid, anxiety stricken, college senior, am facing a plethora of decisions, all which need to be made rather quickly and soonish. Or else what… I don’t grow up? I don’t get a good job? I’m not successful? I don’t make a lot of money? I disappoint my family? I let down my own dreams and hopes?
I feel all these can be summed in failure. Failure has easily been my biggest fear. If you know anything about me, you know that I will work until my heart is made to stop beating by some external force, before I allow myself to fail. But why is failure such a big deal?
Okay, so we’ve established the problems… Taking it back to my Debate years, let’s get sophisticated and call those problems “harms”. Now that that’s settled, let’s figure out what makes these “harms” and what keeps these so-called “harms” from fixing themselves on their own? There’s something inherent in our lives and the world we live in, that exists for every person, and is so general yet so specific at the same time, to control each and everyone of us. Let’s call that “inherency” (oh, you fancyyy, huh?)
I wish I could have been there, when those couple of guys sat down in a room one day and decided to write the handbook on social and cultural norms for this country. I’d probably interject at every other point, just to make sure they establish that the Discovery Zone would never go out of business, to make sure that I would always be a Toys R Us kid, and to secure that it become social custom for men to wear high heels (See how much YOUR feet like it after a night in them!). That’d just be me though…
What was I saying?
Right, social norms. Like I said, we can safely say that society has established all these rules for the future generations to follow. It’s interesting to know where these rules come from, but I think it’s also important to know that if you DON’T know where they come from, it’s not a huge deal. In all honesty, being ignorant to the foundation for cultural norms you live by is sad, but I mean, if you did know where the norms came from, would your behavior change? Probably not… If you knew that the only reason we celebrate Christmas in December is in respect to the Pagan ritual of the winter Solstice, despite the fact that Jesus was ACTUALLY born in March (or April, not sure), would that make Christians (or everyone for that matter) not celebrate Christmas in December anymore?
How about the fact that when you think of God, chances are you imagine an old man with a big long white beard? Does it change the way you imagine God if I told you that you believe such an appearance because of the impact the images of Zeus, the GREEK Pagan God, had on the world? Probably not. Is that information still very important to know? Sure. All information is important, even when other parties deem it irrelevant, someone out in the world finds that same irrelevant fact important. To each is own.
I apologize for continually getting off topic. My overall point is, we make decisions because we want to appeal to the beliefs that society has embedded in our minds. Why do I want to go to law school? Sure, money, status, and all that other shit, but ultimately (for me at least), it’s because society has raised me with the notion that “Justice” is good and “injustice” is bad. Those societal super powers have also engrained me with the concept of wanting to do “good” over “bad”, therefore, it’s only natural that I look to a profession that has all the becomings of a societal good. If going into law was deemed as negative by society, with no individual benefits (personal growth, happiness, etc) how many people do you think would really do it? Not as many lawyers would exist if it wasn’t for the esteem that society has placed on such things. No little boy or girl in their 3rd grade class tells they teacher, “When I grow up, I want to be a criminal”. And if they did, we’d all be severely concerned.
Back to my point of all this, you need to do things that you love, because you love them. I’ve watched a lot of people in my life, live out their years doing things that they hate or dislike, simply because of the standards set forth by society. I know plenty of kids going to medical school or planning on it because of the pressures of their family to become doctors. I’ll never make my kid chose a profession they don’t enjoy. We only live once, and I know that phrase is used so often, but there’s a reason for that: because it’s goddamn right!
I have so many dreams and goals and ambitions. I know I can’t have ALL of them, but I know that if I work hard and do things the honest way (notice I say honest, not “right”. Who knows what’s right without society defining it for you. Honesty is something that can hold water regardless of society’s decisions) then I might be able to get close to all the things I want to do or achieve. I think that’s the most important part. If I can have faith in myself and my abilities as a productive human being with a good heart, then I think I’ll be okay.
John got it right… All you need is love.