Up and through college, it seemed to me that the ideal thing was to know what you wanted to do with your life and then head for it. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question everyone gets asked, and when you give multiple answers, it somehow seems less ideal than a decisive, “I want to be a dentist!”
The truth is, no matter how passionate you are about your chosen field of study, it won’t be enough to satisfy you. Creative people in particular need variety to grow on and inspire their work. Screenwriters will tell you that you can’t just be a screenwriter—it’ll sap your life energy. Variety really is the spice of life.
If you know what you want to do, by all means, go for it. If you don’t, then experiment. And even if you’ve found your calling at this point in life, take a break to pay attention to your hobbies. You’ll be better prepared for whatever it is you’re made to do as a Person of Many Interests and Talents.
There’s only one way to learn how to speak to an audience. Practice. And once you practice enough, you start to see what speaking actually is.
Speaking is the art of self-improvement, of believing in yourself and others. Everyone has their own style to hone into something wonderful, and no one can be exactly like anyone else. Personalities shine through in speaking styles and the way you interact with an audience. Speaking is the art of becoming who you are.
One thing I learn, over and over again (perhaps I haven’t really learned after all), is that in order to give a good speech, you have to believe in it. You have to be positive. Without a positive attitude to bring a message to life, you’re dead in the water. With a can-do attitude, you’ll have the energy to shine, and people will take notice.
It translates to every area of life. Whenever you need to take initiative and make something yourself, believe that you can. Believe you have something to share, because you do. This is what turns your spark of light into a lighthouse beam.
I haven’t posted for a while (for 13 weeks!) but I’m keeping track of these unborn posts. I’m a senior in college now, taking 20 credits, trying to figure out the graduate school application process, and life’s been getting beyond hectic. It’s at times like this—in the middle of the semester, right before the tests, when it seems there’s barely time to breathe—that I remember something.
Life isn’t about trying to get through things and leave them behind. It’s not about pushing through all the assignments just so I can say “done.” It’s about savoring the moment, because that’s all there is. Soon my senior year will be over and this will be past. I’ll be on to new adventures, but if I don’t enjoy the moment, what will I enjoy?
In the midst of chaos, take a moment and hold it. Enjoy the sunlight and the fall leaves. Savor the feeling of helplessness that comes just before an intellectual growth spurt, and know you’ll never be the same.
Don’t live to put life behind you—take time for the present.
The morning glories were strangling my tomatoes again. I didn’t mean to plant them so close together—in fact, the morning glories sprouted on their own from last year. As it happens, if I dare plant morning glories purposefully, the rabbit will come by and eat them. Feral morning glories are the only ones I’ve got.
Eventually I toughened up and pruned back the morning glories. Pruning is something I almost never do—I’d rather have an overgrown garden, a wilderness of variety without space to breathe, than pull up beautiful plants. No wonder my gardens can be unproductive.
Pruning and weeding is something done by all good gardeners, and all good writers, and all busy people. Often, good things have to be sacrificed in the name of better things. Morning glories for tomatoes, and paragraphs for books. The problem with pruning is that it’s hard to know what’s worth the loss.
Do I really need a monstrous tangle of morning glories, or just a few? Since last week when I pruned them, the vines have started strangling the tomatoes again. They’re not going down without a fight.
These tomatoes are some of the sweetest heirlooms in the world. They’re worth it.
What would you say if someone asked you to choose what you want to do with the next phase of your life?
The question has been posed to me, in multiple forms, a lot recently. It’s pretty unnerving. The reason is that I’ve decided to graduate a year early from undergraduate college, and have suddenly put myself on the fast track to the future.
“Where do you want to go? What do you want to do?”
Answering that question is key to finding appropriate graduate schools. It needs to be answered so I can form the right kind of future for myself—one I’ll enjoy and thrive in. What if I answer incorrectly? What if I just don’t know?
Thinking back to when I first entered college as a freshman, I had little idea what I wanted to do. I knew what I liked—writing and video—and went from there. I’ve learned about the intricacies of these two professional fields . . . but not enough to be able to see the future.
Perhaps I’d do well to remember that finding a good course or a school that fits is a lot like finding a friend or romantic partner. There’s more than one good fit available, and no place or person is perfect. Experimentation is key to finding out what you really like . . . so whatever career I settle on for the future, I better start today.