A college essay revisited. I’m not quite sure what the prompt was. I’ve bolded the parts that I would echo today and added some commentary in italics at the end.
Life is full of clichés, “live like you’re dying”, “carpe diem”, “and “shoot for the stars”. These little pieces of encouragement and inspiration infiltrate our lives, but at their core, they are almost contradictory. Throughout life people are faced with the choice between following a short term whim and working toward a long term goal. Ultimately it is a balance of these two conflicting possibilities that affords the fullest quality of life.
Spontaneity is an essential part of living a fulfilling life. The phrase “live like you’re dying” seemingly encourages acting on impulse and satisfying short-term goals. Though these impulses may occasionally come at the cost of a longer term goal, they are usually beneficial. The ability to be spontaneous and enjoy random and unpredictable moments in life is what differentiates humans from machines or animals focused solely on survival. Emotion, passion and delight are forces that one must reconcile with logic and reason as a human being. It is these same forces however, that give us the ability to experience life beyond the ordinary and routine. The gratification of a whim or impulse has an unpredictable impact on one’s life, often taking them on a winding journey of discovery. These discoveries may include new relationships, unforeseen successes, or even advancement toward a long term goal. Life’s unpredictable nature ultimately makes choices based on impulse, whims, and short-term pleasure reasonable and necessary.
While decisions made on impulse or whims are beneficial, one must also maintain long term goals and aspirations. Goals focused in the future give one a sense of direction and purpose as they navigate various obstacles throughout life. These goals eventually become the heart of our life’s purpose. A long term goal helps to sustain focus, foster responsibility and develop character as one must overcome adversity and devote themselves to achieving this long-term success. Additionally a long-term goal lends a sense of higher purpose to the mundane decisions of everyday life and can help one to avoid rash and reckless actions. The cliché “stand for something or you will fall for anything” exemplifies this philosophy. On the whole, if one has no direction, they are likely to simply follow the crowd and float through life never achieving greatness. Therefore long-term goals should be well thought-out, individualized, and approached with zeal. Though short-term goals create the embellishments on a life, long term goals and successes are the fabric upon which they are created.
Thus life should be a combination of short term whims and impulses that enrich the journey one embarks on to achieve long term successes. The clichés that permeate daily life, though seemingly conflicted, indeed offer words of wisdom. It is, in fact, possible to “live like you’re dying” and to “shoot for the stars” as both impulses and focused goals are essential to a fulfilling life. Ultimately neither can exist alone and our objective should become to live each day “carpe diem,” to “seize the day” simultaneously putting forth effort toward long term dreams and aspirations while snatching moments of impulse as they appear.
SO. Upon re-reading this attempt at wisdom from my teenaged self, I think that this essay is one giant cliche. There are a few points that I think are well made (go me!) but ultimately I would send this essay through some serious re-writes at this point.
On a completely unrelated note… I would love some feedback! Would anyone at all want to see more old college essays? Would anyone want to see a re-write? Let me know?