So this post is going to be a bit different than any other post I think I’ve ever written. But I think it may be my one of my favorites. It’s rather personal—not one of “what’s” but instead, a deeper look and “who’s” and “why’s”.
I would like to say I had a specific reason for writing this, but in truth, I don’t think I did. It’s no examination of rocket science or even molecular gastronomy. It’s merely the musings on and of one person: me.
This Sunday marks the one year anniversary of my journey to beginning life at Georgetown. I can’t believe that it’s been one year, and at the same time, I can’t fathom that it’s only been a year. Because truly, the last 365 days of my life have been the most life-changing I’ve ever experience. That is no exaggeration.
Now, as I begin my sophomore year at Georgetown University, I’m simultaneously struck my so many different emotions.
Happiness. I can’t wait to go back to the place where I spent the best year of my life thus far. The idea of seeing my friends—the people who have come to know me best—makes me feel tingly all over.
Apprehension. Despite my confidence, there remains a small but distinct part of me that worries about this year. I’ve heard so much about the “sophomore slump,” and after a fantastic freshman year, I can’t help but feel a bit worried that a major downhill is in my future. Between working, taking classes, extracurriculars, and now interning (!!!), I know I’ll be busy. I know deep down I can handle it, but I still have a lingering feeling of cautiousness.
Excitement. This is probably the overriding feeling, especially in the face of apprehension. As I said, I love what I do at Georgetown and am happier than ever to be taking on roles that mean the world to me. Between acting as the director of the Georgetown University Farmers’ Market, serving in some way as a part of the student government, working at The Corp, and interning for the business of my dreams, I’m just about dancing with excitement. Not to mention I’ll be living with roommate and best friend, H, and three of my other great girl friends in an apartment on-campus!!
It’s quite simply a little sliver of my thoughts, my grapplings, my discoveries, and my own very own coming-of-age story.
Do what you believe is great work.
Love what you do.
As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.
Remembering that I am going to die is the best way to avoid thinking that you have something to lose.
Death is very likely the single best invention of life.
Stay hungry, stay foolish. That is my wish for you.
The above quotes are some of my favorites from Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Speech. While I wasn’t actually there, I always find the video to be one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever seen or heard.
It’s funny what a little inspiration does to me. My friends and family who know me well see it happen all the time. I’ll fall in love with an idea, intrigued by the possibility that it may one day be more than just that.
After a Saturday spent focusing on friends, family, and perhaps even a little of myself, I started thinking.
Not just about the silly ways and means of life but the greater picture—you know, LIFE. As I often have, I wondered about purpose, a basic concept whose very purpose rustles the leaves of my mind.
What is it that I do, and why do I do it? Who does that make me?
These questions are simple but the answer is less so. I’m not talking about why some days, I choose to eat oatmeal over cereal, or vice versa. No, I’m talking about why I live and act as I do.
I wonder why in everything I do. I always seem to find myself wanting, choosing, rising to be a leader, as a wave rises from the ocean. An action so natural that we nearly forget about its seamlessly rhythmic continuity. I wonder why I see an application and feel the unspoken affirmation course through every channel of my body. From food to politics, graphic design to writing, I want to do it. It’s as if I have an insatiable hunger for life, fulfilled by what I do now but forever and always hungry for more. My physical being is not always as excited by this as my mind. Requiring sleep, nourishment, and care, my body lags behind but obeys my mind like a dutiful servant nonetheless.
I wonder why I can’t help but chase a dream for which the end is never clear. Why I give myself wholly to something but not someone, even me. Why over, and over, and over, I put every ounce of being into what I do with an almost reckless regard for myself. And the truth is, I don’t have a great answer.
I understand the manifest purpose of what I do but not the latent purpose. I know that I’m driven to do something, be someone, change something in this, but quite frankly, I’m not sure why. But I know that I am. It may be a gift or a curse, but regardless, I have always been this person. This I know for sure.
In every memory of life that I possess, I have been the same, exact person.
Not the rare and shining stroke of brilliance or talent.
But rather, the ambitious girl.
The go-getter. The hard worker.
The driven woman.
My mom always teases me that I’m “addicted to applying for things.” And perhaps, if you look at my track record, that much is clear to the bettors.
At age four, I taught myself how to make coffee for my mom and how to work a computer. In elementary school, I intentionally taught myself to ride a bike when alone with nobody’s help. With only the mindset, “I want to do this.” In middle school, I learned to be the curious chef, fiercely loyal friend, witty girl, and Renaissance up and comer.
In high school, the bets were heightened. I pushed myself to be at the upper cut of my classes, the promising track and field athlete, the Mock Trial Attorney, the editor-in-chief, the thin and in-shape woman, the National Honor Society Secretary, the California Scholarship Federation Vice President, the valedictorian, the Student of the Year Finalist. The blah, blah, blah, blah.
In college, I became a top-notch student, Georgetown University Student Association senator, a Student Governor to the Georgetown University Alumni Association, a Middle Manager for The Corp’s Marketing department and Uncommon Grounds, a Senior Design Editor for Behind the Counter, a director of the Georgetown Farmers’ Market, a Communications Chair for Women in Politics, a freelance writer for Small Kitchen College, a trusting roommate, a promising leader, a dedicated friend, a balanced daughter, a yogi, a baker, a blogger, a budding women.
Those words and titles, however, are meaningless to me.
To even write that, I feel like a dog with a pedigree—prized for what I have accomplished. For what I am, not who I am.
And truthfully, it scares me. It scares me like no fiercesome animal or horror movie ever can or will. It scares me because it is an incontrovertible part of who I am, yet I barely notice it. And when I do, I find myself asking “why?”
Why and for what? I wonder.
I do not ask why I am physically doing these things. I know that answer. I know, with every drop of my blood, sweat, and tears, that I love what I do.
But why do I love it? For that question, the reasoning is less obvious. Even for the things I love. I have learned to tango with words, being choice in what and when I say it. And in doing so, I sometimes find myself oddly able to fool the world around me. To come up with an answer that seems perfectly acceptable to everyone but myself.
To say that I love what I do is an understatement. To say that that’s the kind of person I am is incomplete. To say that I’m a dreamer is ambiguous.
But allow me an attempt to explain as best I can.
The things that I do—from being a foodie to working for a student-run corporation—give me purpose. This constant change and reach, reach, reaching for progress is not merely a surface value but a gripping part of who I am as a person, an inexplicably electrifying force that drives me.
I do not do what I do out of desire for wealth, fame, fortune, or success. I, as any other person in this world, would be a liar to say I’ve never thought about those things. However, they are not my driving energy, my core strength, or my motivating force. Not even close.
I do what I do because somehow, they make me who I am. They somehow fashion the garments of an identity distinct from any other living being in this universe. I know not where they will take me, why this is the path they have led me down. Or why my heart and soul are pulled towards this life in an attraction and emotion that take my breath away.
I just know that they do.
I know that this who I am. That this is my gift. My rise and demise. My curious truth. That this is all I know how to offer the world.
That this is who I am.