Day 23: You’ve been asked to speak at your high school alma mater – about the path of life (at a graduation at University for us UK people). Draft the speech.
A little heavy and in-depth for what I wanted for today’s blog post as I’m rushed off my feet, but it’s interesting to me so I’ll give it a whirl.
A girl about aged 8 picks up a pen and starts writing words down in what can only be described as a fanfiction of her life – the characters are all there, she just needs to make them do something exciting, like dragon-slaying. She really loves writing, and she never finishes a thing she puts her pen to, but that’s okay because she just likes the art of writing itself. For some reason, once she gets into high school, writing sort of becomes a thing she just did when she was a kid – it’s stupid really, writing about dragons! – and she tries to get “in” with all the other kids, so she doesn’t feel so left out.
Then she decides that acting is something she’s alright at, and it’s creative so why not try to go down that route? “I want to be an actress” she says at aged 16, while searching for colleges and wondering if she should take “regular” classes, or something like Performing Arts. She chooses the latter, because she can also take Psychology, and that’s a “proper” lesson. She writes through college in her own time, but she knows it’s just a hobby – something she does when she’s feeling down or anxious, something that makes her feel better – nothing will ever really come of it.
So when she turns 18 and she’s picking which University is best for her “acting” skills, she picks the one in the same city as her friend, so she has someone else to take this big step with. Only one year in, and she hates acting. Hates being in front of the camera. Hates being someone she’s not. Hates pretending.
So at almost 20, she switches degrees to something she’s excited about, something she was born to do – she’s finally come to a place where she can hone her skills, where she can really make something of her talent. But they don’t tell her experience is the key, not just learning. So she spends the next two years out of university working in any old job, just to get by.
Finally, luck strikes and she ends up working in a job where she writes all the time. It took her 25 years to do it. But she’s at least part way there.
Sound familiar? I think most of us tend to allow education and other people – family and friends – to dictate who we are, who we should be and what we want out of life. Schools will tell you “get a proper job;” colleges will tell you “go to University;” University tells you “haha! You’re on your own, sucker!” We sit, then we stand and we listen to others, but we never really hear ourselves speak. We hear our inner self saying: do this now, you’ll never get the chance but for whatever reason fear, doubt or circumstance seem to get in the way.
I think the point of life is; you’re not supposed to know how it goes. Life is not that movie you’ve seen a thousand times before and know every line; it’s not that song you play over and over in your car or that book you re-read – we all know how those things end. Life is about the corners we take, and not knowing what we will face when we do. It’s about taking those shaky steps towards the unknown, towards the powerful, never really knowing if we are strong enough to go there.
People will tell you: life is a journey. Life is a road. Life is the path unknown. But I will tell you: it’s not. Life is life. And it’s exciting or mundane. It’s invigorating, or boring. It’s searching the expected and finding the unexpected. It’s all of these and none of these.
People have told me many times: here is where I tell you the path of life.
But I don’t want someone to tell me my path. I don’t want someone to tell me it gets better, that it gets easier. That everything I do from now will affect me for the rest of my life.
I want to find that out myself. I want to learn from my mistakes, but I also want to make mistakes too. How then, will we ever learn? How will our future generations sit in front of a person giving a speech on the path of life, when that path has already been drawn out for them?
Someone else must walk the tormented path of their life in order to warn others against it.
That is how we learn. That is how we evolve.
So I won’t tell you what the path of life is.
I’ve told you mine.
Make your own.
And make it yours.