Where am I going
How do I get there
What should I bring along
Are people kind there
Is peace of mind there
Will I finally belong
Cause you know ships sail their courses
And heroes ride horses
They know where they belong
But I travel in circles
Quickly to nowhere
Singing my unfinished song
And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself – Well… How did I get here?
Once In A Lifetime
From the moment we are born, everything conspires to fill our heads with the word “should.” Our parents, the environment, and all of the other people how come and go in our lives essentially program what we know, who we are, and even influence that which we desire.
Boys like blue and play with trucks. Girls like pink and play with dolls.
At some point, though, after enough growth, the individual can exceed the sum of their parts. They can question anything they want about their own life. Is the religion of my parents, the religion I’ve known my whole life until now, is that the religion for me?
As you get older, you want things. Perhaps you want a flashy car or you want to get pregnant and have baby and/or rush out and be married. Do you ever stop to wonder, “Why do I want these things? What is it about these particular things?” Is it truly what I want or just the predictable output of the programming I’ve experienced since the moment I was born? How much is really me and how much is just random chance because I ended up in this part of the world and with these specific people?
You may find yourself getting out of school and taking one of two common paths – Jumping right into more school or going directly to work.
Perhaps you’ll become independent and established and have your own home or apartment. You’ll populate it with possessions and begin taking on financial obligations and debt that make regular income a very important part of your life. The more you owe, the more you have to work. Unless you are one of the few to be independently wealthy, that means you’ll be working a full-time job, perhaps more. The more you own, the more you work, and the more you want, and the more you consume. You may find yourself in a cycle where it becomes very hard to break free.
At some point you may realize you aren’t doing what you want at all. You might be doing what everything but. You may have been deceived by the should.
Lately, following the death of Steve Jobs, there has been a lot of blather about being that square peg that refuses to be placed in that round hole. Be different. Be unique. Be someone who changes the rules and changes the world. Refuse to conform. Write your own destiny and never compromise, never do what they tell you.
I can’t help but wonder. How easy is that? What would that world look like? What if seven billion people collectively said, “You know what? I’m going to do what I want. I won’t let anyone else tell me what to be.”
I don’t imagine that world would have very many ditches.
So what is your life path plan? Besides finishing high school and going to college and/or getting a job, what are these other paths? I see kids these days dropping out of high school and not getting jobs. They just sort of flounder, either living off mom and dad or bouncing from place to place, using it up, then landing somewhere else.
I don’t imagine they put a lot of thought into their future or any sort of planning on where they want to go. They just sort of exist. But what if they tried? They are actively rejecting the traditional life paths that most of us took, so what are their options to go forth and be different?
In the movie Into The Wild (based on true story) a young man graduates from college as a top student, gives away his possessions, donates $24,000 to charity and then hitchhikes to Alaska. Now that is a person decisively making a choice and deciding what they want. True, in the end, it didn’t work out quite so well, but the boldness of the choice is breathtaking. Could I do something like that? I highly doubt it.
Another year has passed me by
Still I look a myself and cry
What kind of man have I become?
All of the years I’ve spent in search of myself
And I’m still in the dark
‘Cause I can’t seem to find the light alone
Sometimes I feel like a man in the wilderness
I’m a lonely soldier off to war
Sent away to die – never quite knowing why
Sometimes it makes no sense at all
I can understand that some kids may want to reject traditional dogma and decide their own fates. But how many possible life paths are out there? What is it they can really do to achieve what they want? If they reject the traditional 9 to 5 what will they be doing instead?
I can respect a non-traditional choice as long as it is conscious, not drug-induced, and makes sense on some damn level.
I really want to know.