Thursday, May 23, 2013

It is a truth that...

It is a truth universally acknowledged that life is made up of lessons for us to learn, new heights for us to explore, new depths for us to fall to, new people for us to meet, new classes for us to take.

Not exactly what you were expecting when you read the line "It is a truth universally acknowledged," right? Hopefully? Maybe? (If it wasn't, go to the bookstore, online or in reality, and buy Pride and Prejudice and begin reading. Now.)

Okay, perhaps not universally acknowledged, but I'd say pretty widely acknowledged.

Life is made up of mistakes, of mess-ups, lessons. Sometimes we fail miserably, sometimes we succeed. This is something I think most will agree on, but there's something else to it. After a certain age, are we supposed to stop learning, to know everything? Is there a marker in our life that tells us, "Yes, you've succeeded. Go ahead doing what you're doing and everything will work out" ? Are there events that, once passed, we're supposed to know who we are, what we want, what we'll do, and after them we'll never really change ever again?

This is the time of year that seniors of both college and high school are graduating; they're taking their last exams of (insert school type here), they're moving on with their lives, they're starting to dip their toes into the "real world." I recently went through two lists that emphasized that: 65 Books You Need To Read In Your 20s and 5 Gift Books for New High School Graduates. Both were interesting, but really stuck out to me was the point they drove home, and I remember this feeling when I was looking for colleges and graduating high school, that short year ago: Was I supposed to know who I am already?

In some colleges interviews, they'll ask you the pivotal question: Where would you like to be in (insert time period extending from 5-20 years here)?

But here's my question: Why do I have to know the answer?

Every seven years, you're an entirely new you. This means, every single cell in your body has died or been recycled, meaning you are now made up of entirely new cells. So, should I know exactly where I want to be in 5-20 years, and aggressively pursue it until I get there? I don't think so, at least I hope not.

Life is organic, it's ever-changing. It's made up of lessons, it's a dance and a game and a roller coaster ride. Do have to map out the path exactly? Can't we be like early cartographers (mapmakers) and just get the general vicinity down, then be surprised by what happens? Doesn't that seem like the better path?

And why must there be so many rhetorical questions?

"When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the Lamb, make thee?

Tiger! Tiger! Burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?" ~"The Tiger," William Blake

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