I’m surrounded daily by college students who are openly eager to find a path or at least a direction for their lives. “What should I be or do…?” they ask. Not that those of us who are older aren’t challenged by the same question, but college students face the question like it’s their job, with a healthy mixture of confidence and angst. Very few, though, seem to persist in the pursuit of an answer that is truly meaningful to them. They are influenced by others – well-meaning parents, teachers, and peers – who guide them toward a practical, traditional response. So, they get a job doing something that doesn’t genuinely excite them, assuming maybe they’ll get back to that big question soon after they get settled in a normal, adult life.
“You must cultivate activities that you love. You must discover work that you do, not for its utility, but for itself. Think of something that you love to do for itself, whether it succeeds or not, whether you are praised for it or not, whether you are loved and rewarded for it or not, whether people know about it and are grateful to you for it or not. How many activities can you count in your life that you engage in simply because they delight you and grip your soul? Find them out, cultivate them, for they are your passport to freedom and to love.”
You certainly can cultivate such activities outside of your job, but wouldn’t the ideal be to make such soul-satisfying activities the heart of your work? Don’t give up on the quest to live your dream. Start doing at least what you think you love even if it’s on your own time or knowing that it will only be a hobby. Take action and start acting like you are who you want to be, even if you’re not really sure who that is yet.
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” Thoreau