May 26, 2012

As for goals

I've been hearing a lot about goals lately, and it has me scared. In commencement addresses, scraps of advice, children's books...

People tell us young people: go. Make a difference in the world - make something! Know what you want to do and go do it. Strive and fail and achieve.

I love their words. I soak up the speeches and think about the possibilities we have in life at this crucial turning point, another of which I will face again in four more years. I understand.

But my great failure on this Friday night at 12:43 AM - the last Friday night of the school year - is that I don't know. There are people who know, and if not the means, then at least an approximation of their ideal crowning achievement. To revolutionize the economy, fix the environment, educate, lead, discover. They see something in their mind's eye with a twinkle of fear and excitement, even if that something changes every day.

And yet, all I see is something. It is in bold; it is in some way remarkable. But I don't know what it is - I have no idea. I never felt that vigilant idealistic determination to "change the world."

But in a sense - I do. I know I want to make a mark and make progress and affect change. But it's never been in some grand fashion - I've never fantasized about becoming President or Queen of the World. I never spent too much time sympathizing with the animals on the endangered species list. Deep down, I always felt, no, feel, that I am kind of an awful person. A fraud.

Even so, many people have gone on to accomplish great things in the pursuit of ego. World-altering discoveries have been made in the pursuit of pure accomplishment. I suppose that is how runners must feel: nothing is done by crossing that finish line in record time, but damn it must feel good. And damn, I like to feel good. I like to feel proud. And no, this is not a bad thing. It really can't be. Because in the race towards accomplishments and pleasure and the opportunity to feel proud, each pace does not just cross a couple feet on a worn track, but rather, life! Change! POWER.

The power to affect change, that is noble. And what I wish to affect, in what ways, towards what goal, well, for tonight those questions will go unanswered. But at least I tried. And over the next four years, I need to make a promise. A promise to myself and to the world, which we all have the power to change. I promise to never relent. We need to promise that. I promise to let no time or opportunities go wasted, to let no stride towards that elusive finish line go surpassed. Even if it is for ego, for something in bold, then so be it. I must at least make that something, well, something.

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