The evening I started writing this was the evening I realized that we are responsible for ourselves and our lives. Doesn’t it sound like such an obvious statement? We are responsible, in control of who we are, what we do. It seems to make perfect sense. We make decisions in life and take actions that shape who we become and what our lives look like.
But there is more than one way to interpret this statement. The first interpretation would be something along the lines of humans having the freewill to make decisions. So at any one point in our lives, we can trace back the choices we’ve made that have led us to that point. Of course, things in life happen to us, things beyond our control, but for the most part, or at least in large part, we make our own choices that govern the paths we are on and the places we go.
The second interpretation is related to the first so closely it may not even warrant a separate paragraph. It is responsibility, not in terms of past actions which we hold ourselves accountable for, but what we decide our futures to be. This, I believe, is the scariest yet most important responsibility. How can we know what actions or decisions to make if we do not have a vision of where we want those decisions to take us.
When we picture ourselves in even the nearest of futures, what are we doing, where are we and why are we there? I feel like all too often we don’t think about our futures in a really concrete form. We daydream, we think up future goals that sound nice under the influence of preconceived notions but real planning for real futures, how do we go about doing that? How can we expect to satisfy ourselves and our passions when we so clearly lack direction? Direction itself is so influenced by experience and knowledge if we lack in either of those departments we’ll have no hope of finding any direction whatsoever.
All of this rambling has led to what I hope is some sort of lesson. The lesson is this: the only way we can find any meaning in life is of course to do something we find fulfilling. But before we can even hope to know what that is, we need to experience things, try and fail at things and travel to find new and different things. If we reflect on the experiences we’ve had and the things we’ve failed at, then maybe we will find something worth while, some goal worth pursuing, some future we can actually picture. I don’t think we should worry about having a future to work towards, I think we should focus on having experiences and continuing to thirst for knowledge.
I don’t think humans are meant to do one thing, or that there is a right path to follow. Humans are full of so many emotions, passions and have so many different combinations of characteristics how could there be only one thing to which we are suited. Whatever path we end up on, no matter how untraveled or well-traveled, will have us discover what is meaningful and valuable along the way. I only hope to find a hand full of things I find meaning in so I can make them into a life. Humans don’t find themselves, we find ways to make ourselves.
And we don’t stop creating ourselves either. There is no end destination, no ‘future’ we reach. We continue to travel and discover. It’s what makes life so exciting and worth living in the first place.