In a recent fit of over-analysis, I realized that most of us live a scripted life. From our childhood we are forced to go to school. We spend 2-3 decades of our life in school so we can prepare to get a respectable job. At no point did anyone ask me if I ever actually wanted to be educated or have a job for that matter. Honestly, how many of us would be pursuing degrees and careers if we felt that we didn’t have to? How many of us would have picked a more ‘fun’ discipline that medicine or law if we hadn’t been programmed all our lives that this is what we should do?
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed many aspects of my education schooling. Most of the highlights of my life are linked to extracurricular activities, community service or leadership positions all connected to school. I LOVED my elementary and high school days. But as I find myself surrounded by law students who generally hate law school and converse with my friends in other grad programs who generally dislike those programs as well, I wonder how many of us made the decision to pursue graduate school or even undergraduate studies because of freewill as opposed to societal programming.
I love the feeling of being educated. I love spending hours on end talking about politics, society, sports, history… and the list goes on. I’m a sucker for intellectual discourse (natural result of having a mom who’s a teacher). And while I look forward to a fulfilling career in the law, I prefer reading Zadie Smith and Jamaica Kincaid to any Scalia opinion. For those of us who’ve spent our whole lives in school, it seems that we have been on society’s hamster wheel for an eternity. In retrospect, it can seem like my entire life has been a means to an end: Go to kindergarten, so I can go to elementary/primary school, so I can go to high school, so I can go to college, so I can go to law school, so I can get a job, so I can finally start living at 25? Pretty bleak existence if you look at it that way.
The only way to dig oneself out of the drudgery is to make every day count. Our day to to day living has to be about more than just completing the to-do list and making steps towards “the goal”. Everyday we’ve got to do something that we want to do just for ourselves [which ideally aligns with the plan God has for us]. I know the conventional wisdom is that “you do what you have to do now so you can do what you want to do later” but the reality is that some us will NEVER get to where we want to be.
PAUSE. Take that in.
So if you never get to where you’ve always wanted to be, if it turns out that you’re not meant to be or do what you thought you were, would your entire life thus far have been wasted? If so, it’s time to make each day worth living. We all may be hamsters, but we can at least get off the wheel sometimes…