As a student more than halfway through my degree, I’ve often had to face this question: what do you want to do with your life? My parents ask me with a caring concern, wanting me to have a plan for success. My friends ask me so we can rant and stress about our impending futures. And I ask myself, because in all honesty, I have absolutely no clue.
I want to work with non-profits in rural India. I would like to be that person at HarperCollins who gets to read manuscripts and goes on to uncover the next best seller. I seriously want to spend a good portion of the next 20 years backpacking across Asia and South America. I sometimes think there is no better career than being a religious scholar and understanding my faith inside out. I also know that I would be one happy girl if I could dedicate my life entirely to my family (the one I currently have and the one that’s yet to arrive). In short, I want to do too many things in too short a lifetime. Not to mention I have a set of worried parents who think their daughter has no goal in life.
I remember my father giving me pep talks about the many virtues of an MBA back in grade six. There was no doubt in my mind that I would graduate in management. The catch: I hate math. I honestly thought I was done with math for good after grade 12. So I couldn’t bring myself to go through the ordeal of MAT133. However, no math equals no business degree. Meanwhile, science wasn’t even considered. I was destined for the humanities, but even humanities has too wide a scope for a person as indecisive as myself. And yet at the same time I still dream of taking over Procter and Gamble.
But what is so wrong with indecision, really? My lack of ability to decide in due time does not hamper my success. It only delays it—for the sake of perfection. I like perfecting every detail. When I finally come to a decision, it’s almost always the right one. Don’t they say slow and steady wins the race?
As for the matter of what I want to do with life, let me come out and say it once and for all: my only goal is to be a student of life. Excuse the cheese.
Every single day that I survive is an experience unique to me. Believe me, in the end it will not matter what career path I chose. What will count is what I’ve learnt over the years. True wealth does not constitute how big your net worth is, or how many friends you have. True wealth lies in how well you have come to understand life. Wisdom is the single most important power in the world.
I fancy working for non-profits so that I can understand the dirt and grime of our world. I hope to read manuscripts because I want to be the first one to benefit from a particular author’s understanding of life. I long to travel to as many countries as possible not so that I can brag about my adventures, but so that my education is not restricted to one little part of the world. People from entirely different cultures with entirely different histories can offer you more perspective on life than you ever imagined possible. I desire to study my religion because beneath every faith lies endless insight into what is right and wrong. So why not start with digging into my own? And where else is better experience of relationships to be gained than by spending time with your own family?
In the words of Sylvia Plath, “I want to live and feel all the shades, tones, and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life.” And just like her, “I am horribly limited.”