The following is a guest post I wrote for my friends over at Stuff BU Kids Like. I hope you enjoy it and do check out their site. It's absolutely hilarious.
“To have a reason to get up in the morning, it is necessary to possess a guiding principle. A belief of some kind. A bumper sticker, if you will. People in cars on busy freeways call to each other Boycott Grapes, comfort each other Honk If You Love Jesus, joke with each other Be Kind to Animals – Kiss a Beaver. They identify, they summarize, they antagonize with statements of faith: I Have a Dream, Too – Law and Order; Jesus Saves at Chicago Fed; Rod McKuen For President.”
n Ordinary People by Judith Guest
For the past sixteen years – whether you know it or not – you’ve been laying the foundations of a house. This house will be you. And, on the Sunday morning of May 22nd, 2011 you will begin constructing your house the moment you open your eyes. The moment you make a choice either to sleep forever – completely ignoring the moving, changing, and confusing world outside – or to wake up and be someone.
The moment you wake up on this impending Sunday – hung over and potentially still drunk – everything you do from then on will be for you. No longer will you acquiesce to the desires of Professors, coaches, TAs, RAs, and Dorm Security Guards. There is no one left to impress – save for the people you want to. You have earned the power of choice. But, this choice and how you use it says multitudes of who you are and what you stand for.
So, I hope you’ve laid your foundation properly.
The key to not being overwhelmed – should you choose to participate in life – is to know why, exactly, you get out of bed in the first place. Why wake up? Why not just lie there and sleep – unable to be contacted, to disappoint, to shame, to be vulnerable. Why subject yourself to this cruel, unforgiving, and dispassionate world? Knowing what gets you out of bed, and knowing why these things get you out of bed, is paramount in understanding yourself.
Knowing who you are is like hiring the best architect or interior designer for the house you’re creating. Who else would know how to design the kitchen or where to place the master bedroom? Who else would know what off shoot of burgundy the dining room should be or what wood your dresser should be – cherry or oak? By understanding why you choose to live you understand what makes you … you. This is an incredibly powerful asset.
By understanding you, you are now invested with the power of change, with the power of editing and revising. We, like a great work of art, are beings of constant flux. We ebb and flow with the path that Life puts us on. It’s imperative, for our happiness and our prosperity, that we understand – truly understand – who we are, where we’ve been, and where we are heading. This can only come through the introspection that is necessary of analyzing why we get out of bed every morning.
So, when you’re two years into the “real world”, unemployed, and scratching for reasons to wake up – think about what’s gotten you up for the past twenty something years. Think about what keeps you up at night. What you day dreamed about while strutting down Comm. Ave on your way to class – looking good and feeling even better. Who are you at your best and what brought you there? Knowing yourself is not only a tool for improvement and understanding, but perseverance and strength.
The same can be said for when you’re two years into the “real world” and realizing that this job you were so excited for isn’t what it was supposed to be. You start to feel that horrible, sinking, feeling that creeps in at night when you begin to realize that your hopes and expectations are nowhere near being met. Knowing yourself gives you the power to make the change you need because of the faith it puts in yourself.
Because – sometimes – change is a choice, too.
So, lets say by now you know who you are – hypothetically – now what? You put it into action i.e. you get a fucking hobby.
We are creatures of creation – just look around. You are surrounded, everyday, by edifices we’ve constructed. Buildings, art, food, roads, cars – all manmade. We thrive on purpose and when that purpose and creation is involved in something we love – a passion – then that leads to internal happiness unparalleled by any other experience.
A happiness that can keep you up at night and out of bed in the morning, that grants you peace of mind and a foundation to stand on. A happiness that is contagious, inspiring, and separates you from everyone else.
I urge you all to be someone – at the very least. To be constructive with your cognitive energy and not spend your time on Facebook or Twitter. To not get sucked into the terrible toxin of reality TV – a unique phenomena that has, unfortunately, taught us Millennials that you do not have to be worthwhile to be “famous”. I urge you all to make yourself vulnerable, to get out of your comfort zone, to participate in the world that is outside your window. To make a difference, an impact, to embrace the pain.
I hope you all – in complete sincerity – fall flat on your face in failure then rise to be better than before. You are human – malleable, plastic, adaptable, and changeable.
You are not made out of glass.
We are given no purpose when we enter this world, we are given no set of instructions, and no path is opened for us. We are merely given a toolbox and ourselves and must make do with what we have, make the best of what God gave us.
Doing this successfully only comes from knowing why the Hell you got out of bed this morning.