Sunday, April 06, 2008

Live your Life

I've been happier this week. I love that. I think that there are a lot of reasons why, ranging from no more end-of-term stress to Divine intervention, but I sort of want to focus on just one reason right now.

This past week, I've been living my life. I've been doing the things that I like to do, as well as the things that I really feel that I need to do. I've been being me, all the time. It's made a difference.

My life is sorta like my blog, I think. You notice how sometimes I get really distracted on here? I'm not talking about within my posts, but like, what I want to do with my blog. I'll go on big tangents sometimes. The Alliance, Blogaday, my failed sleep-a-day, thinking about switching hosts, thinking about holding contests, thinking about doing all sorts of stuff. Somedays I really just want to try something new. Something pseudo-professional. Something like a project for my blog.

Some of those projects have been successful. Blogaday, in particular, was wild. Some projects have seen marginal success, like The Alliance, but have always seemed to lack what it takes to sustain themselves. Most projects have flopped.

Most of the flop projects are always accompanied by less posting here. When I do post during flop times, it's usually nothing inspiring.

I'm not sure why I feel that tug towards blog projects. When I look at what has made this blog important to me, what gives it value, it's the exploration of my self that makes it all meaningful. It's the difference and insight for others that makes me think, "Yeah, this is important."

Projects have never really brought anything important to the table. Blogaday is the exception, but that's only because it allowed for more exploration. What gives this blog meaning is the old-school and traditional staples: just me and my posts.

And I think my life runs a pretty close parallel to the blog. The same issues that I have here are the same issues I have out there. Some days I just get really distracted. I want to go do something, I want to go be something different. I want to do something epic and time consuming and pointless. Why? I don't fully know, but it's distracting.

And when I do finally sit down and look around me, I start to realize. The things that give my life meaning are not the projects. They're not the grade point average or the standardized test scores. I am not defined by my academic performance.

Just like with my blog, the things that give my life value are the old-school staples that have always been there. The way that I interact with and help other people, time for myself to do important study, and time spent with my family are the things that are important to me. When I focus on those things, I feel like I make progress. I feel much better about myself and about everything around me.

It's when I get distracted and start trying to be something that I'm not that things get rough.

So that's been the discovery of this past little while. It's been a long time coming, I think. And I'm not saying that it's been a lightning bolt of inspiration that has changed my life in a day. I still get distracted, but I'm working on remembering what's important. I'm working on priorities. It's been making a difference.

I talked a bit above about being me, and not trying to be something I'm not. The Micron scholarship I shot for, as well as the sterling scholar stuff, sorta helped me discover what was going on. I don't want to be a scientist. I've got a good academic record, but that's not where my true talents and gifts lie, I think. Or, maybe rather, that's not where my calling lies. I don't think I've been called to revolutionize the world of science or engineering. Micron and Sterling Scholar were all about that. And while that's awesome, and while I'm very glad I worked on both of those things, that's not who I want to be.

My calling- that's a very interesting thing to think about. I mean, can one really define, specifically, what they're supposed to do? That's a personal question, I think. I have my own beliefs about it. I don't think I'll write them all out here, but I suppose that if you want to talk about it, find me sometime and ask.

The important thing, though, is that, with help, I've started figuring things out a bit. Without going too far into everything, I've come to the realization that I have not been called to be extremely successful.

And that was something that totally got me by surprise. I guess I just sort of assumed that I was. I assumed that because I've experienced some success in the past, I was a failure if I didn't go out there and become incredibly rich and famous and change the world. If I wasn't top of my class at the university, if I wasn't a millionaire by thirty, I wouldn't be living up to what I needed to do.

But that's just not the case. And the fact that I know that that's not the case now, that's changing things for me.

I mean, yeah, I want to be successful. But I'm realizing that that's not the most important thing in life. And because I'm realizing that, I'm starting to work on the things that really ARE important. When I'm working on things that are important, I'm happy.

So what's the moral of the story? I think there's a few things I can take from this. The first is one that I've learned before. Life is a sine graph. It's got its ups and downs. I'm feeling pretty good about stuff right now. I know that there will be times in the future when I feel pretty crappy. I think the key to success with this one is that I need to maximize my life when I'm up like this. Learn what I can, so that when I go down things will be better. Accomplish everything that I can when I'm up like this, working at a million percent. I need to make progress up here. I need to make progress down in the troughs, too, but I can't take times like this for granted. Life is life, whether I'm up or whether I'm down. I've been given this up, and I need to make the most of it.

Second lesson, I feel, is that cliche's are true, but it doesn't matter that they're true, because it's impossible to discover they're true until we run into them for ourselves. This past forever has been a journey of self-discovery. Things have started coming together lately to help me learn more about myself and the world around me. Ideas and opinions I have held for a long time are changing. I am discovering myself. For a long time I honestly thought that I was through with all of that. I felt like I'd done quite a bit of discovering through the years, and I was feeling pretty good with where I was. People have always said that the journey of self discovery never really stops, but I figured it had. Welp, I was wrong. Here I am, appreciative of the fact that I was wrong.

The third, and most important, lesson: I'm not as tough as I thought I was. Back in sophomore cross country days, Porter and the older guys would always mess around with each other as we ran. They'd smack each other, jump on each other, and really just have a good time. They're battle cry and anthem was always, "Do you think you're tough?!" Any time they'd get hit, or be ready to hit, or really any time they just wanted to say hi, they'd ask if you thought you were tough. The first time they asked me, it caught me off guard, and I thought about it. The next million times they asked, I just figured they were joking. But now, years later, I'm starting to see the wisdom of it all. Noaksey said that madrigals is what made him realize that he wasn't tough. I've got a long way to go yet, but I'm starting to realize, just like Noaksey, that I'm not that tough. This process of changing what I want to be when I grow up, what I want to do, and ultimately what I want to focus on, it's been a bit humbling. I've had to realize that I didn't have it all figured out. Admitting that what I've been working towards for the past long time just isn't what I want to do. I was wrong. And the fact that I was wrong helps me realize that I will probably be wrong in the future, too.

Normally that kind of stuff bugs me. I hate to be wrong. But this week, I'm loving it. I'm so excited to be human again.

So hey, life your life. Was that Thad's catch-phrase when he ran for office? I think so, and I'm totally horking it.

It doesn't matter if I don't make a lot of money, because making a lot of money isn't what I've been called to do. I've got a feeling that I know what I've been called to do, and I'm going for it. I'm living my life.

It's like that great smelling burst of spring air through the window. I really feel like I'm on the right track. I love being on the right track.

So go ahead, accuse me of just having a really good night. Accuse me of being overly optimistic and cheerful. I understand. I'd do the same if I were you. But the truth is, I'm feeling good about this. I'm feeling good about life and the future. I feel like I can, with help, really get out there and make a difference. I feel like I know where I'm going. I have no idea where I'm going, but I know what I want to do when I get there. I know who I want to be.

So hey, live your life. I'm figuring out what's important to me, and I'm pursuing it. I think that if there was one thing I'd say by way of advice, it'd be to try the same. Figure out what's important to you, and then chase after it with all you've got.

I hope things are going well for you all. I appreciate the fact that you're all out there. I think about you guys. If there's anything I can do to help, well, drop me a line. I know nobody will actually drop me a line, but I wanted to put it out there, cause I mean it.

Here I go, full steam ahead. I'll need help, but I know that it's possible. I can make it.

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