Sunday, June 10, 2012

Greater than existence.

As a child we are sheltered by our parents and/ or the government. Until the age of 18-21 we are directed by an existing plan devised to help us “succeed”. We are monitored in high school. Required to attend a number of days. Legal actions have to be taken to “opt out” of that pre-devised plan. Most parents encourage you to follow a series of rules to guide you from point A (kindergarten) to point B- graduation (high school and/ or college). During this time, most of us complain that we want more freedom. There is a steady uneasiness during that age to be out on our own. To grow up. The last few weeks before graduation a rumble settles in to your stomach. When you cross that stage to adult hood, reality settles in like a haze, lingering above our independent minds. Some of us at that point have used our scheduled lives to determine the future. We know, by our structured existence “this is what we want to do”. What most of us still don’t understand is how expensive rent is, what it’s like to fill out all of our own paperwork, how to adjust our time in a schedule that we have to come up with to accommodate our newly self-managed life. Long story short…

 Life is hard, and no one baby’s you in the real world. I think I first realized this when upon graduation I was swooped up and taken in by my previous internship employers. I lived in their home during my stay, and while they backed me financially, I was required to do all of the groundwork. Not long after, I began managing their lives as well. It quickly hit me that this was it. The end of my childhood. However I still wasn’t “in charge”. They told me where to go. What to do. How to act. How to speak. On one hand I know that they were simply giving me a crash course on how to pursue the career that at the time, I believed I wanted. I had this idea that I was going to live a fantastical life amongst celebrities and be envied by all, but when I achieved that, I realized all I really wanted was to figure it out on my own.

Now I’m about to contradict myself. Yes, I wanted to figure it out on my own, but as I sit here now I often wish that life were simple again. That somewhere out there, someone would look out for my best interest and tell me how to live my life in order to maximize on all it has to offer. I long for that imposed structure. I think we all feel that at some point or another. Many of my friends are going through the very same thing. Teetering on the edge of adulthood. What I’ve found is that the difference between childhood and adulthood (besides the obvious) is that with adulthood you can have mentors who offer guidance that you can still choose to ignore. More than not, I wind up following that guidance, yet it’s nice to have the option. The freedom…

I’ve been very lucky. I can easily count at least 5 successful women who to this day would set aside an hour or two to discuss with me the options of my future. One of which did just that yesterday at lunch. We sat down at my favorite restaurant here in Columbia. Bleu at the tavern. It became my favorite by default. My best friend is the daytime bartender, so on my bad days, off days, or just days when I don’t have anything else to do I will go there to sit and chat with her. Yesterday was all business however, so my mentor and I were guided to a table by the window and slowly, but surely devised a formula for my success. I’m not saying that after one conversation with her I am going to uproot my life and hang on her every word, but I must admit that with everything I gave her to work with she came up with a pretty good plan. All of my likes and dislikes were calculated alongside the facts. All of the factors of my life each played a small role in the abyss, until out of nowhere sprang a tangible plan.

“What is it?” you’re wondering. Well unfortunately I’m not quite prepared to divulge that information. I still have a few more meetings, a lot of research and deep contemplation before I decide to chase that dream. And it is just that. A dream. If I chose to follow this path it would be the hardest, yet most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. Which is the real point of this post.

What makes you tick. What is your passion? Are you settling for a life or career just because it is “realistic” or have you thrown common sense out the window and said to yourself “Why not?” Why can’t you be great? Why can’t you be the best? You can. Not everyone is big city bound. Not everyone wants to change the world. I get that. But even if you are sitting on a box stool day after day making soap, is it because you have to? Or because it pays the bills? Or do you REALLY just love making soap. The way that it smells. The looks on the faces of the consumers as they rummage bar after bar through your extensive selection.

 What makes you tick? Without passion there would be no rumble in your stomach. The good and the bad would blend recklessly together until you were void of emotion. To exist isn’t enough. The definition of existing is “To have life.” Do you want to just have it? Or do you want to LIVE it to the height of your ability. We’re all in this together, and that is something that is so untouchably incredible. We’re here. So let’s live.

Remember me. I’m Tennessee.

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