When you are a kid, school feels endless. Through most of elementary school, I had no idea how many years school lasted. I figured one day I would reach the 37th grade and then maybe I would move on to the real world. Kids are stupid, and I was no exception.
12th grade and high school graduation did eventually come around though. Like most students, the next step was college. Unlike everybody else though, I took twelve years to get my degree. Even Van Wilder did not spend that much time in college.
So now as I near age 30, I have to contend with the question most of my peers already handled years ago: What comes next? Counting pre-school, I spent over two and a half decades pursuing my education. That chase is all I have ever known. And now it is gone.
Grad school is not currently appealing. I am working to get some IT certifications such as CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+, yet those goals are much smaller than getting my bachelor’s degree. Pursuing them does not provide a strong enough drive. Magellan wanted to sail around the globe; I am goalless.
To make up for this deficit, I have been trying to establish a daily routine and work on my hobbies. Every day I have spent time reading, writing, programming, and studying. For the first time in my life, no teachers or professors are telling me what to do. I am working on exactly what I want. But my days still feel empty.
I have got to learn to live in the present and enjoy the routine. In the words of Miley Cyrus, “There’s always gonna be another mountain. I’m always gonna wanna make it move. Always gonna be an uphill battle. Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose. Ain’t about how fast I get there. Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side. It’s the climb.”
Goals are stupid. They are externalities you cannot control. Ferdinand Magellan did not actually circumnavigate the Earth. He died in the Phillippines on April 27, 1521. The remainder of his crew got the job done instead.
Living in the present is more important than looking towards some future objective. However, doing so is not easy. Commencement speakers never mention the forthcoming sense of ennui.