What would it be like to get everything you ever wanted? Would you be happy? Content? Thrilled? Excited? Satisfied? Angry? Surprised? Disappointed? Purposeless? Lonely? How horrible would it be to realize that all you ever wanted was in fact the opposite of what would make you happy? What if, deep down, you simply wanted to be recognized for your talents, yet on the surface all you wanted was for everyone’s abilities to be the same so you wouldn’t keep disappointing yourself? What if you simply wanted an opportunity to lead, but leadership to you was people blindly following your instructions? What if all you wanted was someone to understand you, to love you, but you’d given up on that and were ready to settle for a life of loneliness, a life where everyone was kept at a safe distance to protect your heart from discovering they don’t truly understand?
What would it be like? We want what we want in this life because we think it will make us happy – if I can only get that promotion, can only push myself to run faster, if I could only study harder. It would make everything, no matter how crappy or brilliant your circumstances are, better. In my experience, however, people don’t always (almost never) know what they really want, at least in the way or form they want it at least. As Gen Yers, we’ve been told we could do everything, given the tools to do everything, have learned from expericence that everything is possible, yet so many of us struggle to find what – out of that infinite spectrum of everything – we really want to pursue. I’ve discussed this again and again with my friends and family – walking down the path is hard, but choosing your path is much harder. I can get anywhere I want in life as long as I know where anywhere is.
So how do you figure out what you want? Part of the beauty of college is that it allows you to experience new things, explore different careers and hobbies and interests and friends, evaluating your feelings and aptitude for different subjects and activities. This is meant to help you choose your path, meant to assault you with a barrage of options, hoping that one will light a spark in your soul, will stick with you as the thing you would be content doing for the rest of your life.
But most of us aren’t in college, are out of college, will never have the chance to experience a university as it was meant to be experienced. Some of us went and still failed to find what resonated with our souls, failed to discover what it is we want in our heart of hearts. What then?
To tell you the truth, I don’t have an answer – I don’t think I’ll find my answer in a university, as I didn’t with high school or being part of an international community. I think all I can do at this point is set a goal – any goal – and simply prove to myself that I can achieve it. It could be a triathlon, it could be reading a difficult book, refraining from snapping at my family or serving my community. Simply having a goal can lead you to see what you’re not working on that you wish you could be. There’s no greater power than that of what you don’t have, correct?