I wrote the following response after a student shared a very intimate, personal essay that he/she knew I wouldn’t read until after the last class meeting. I share it here in hopes of reminding the reader that we are all in this life together and that we can fight through the hardships and struggles that tend to entangle our goals and ambitions.
As a teacher of high school and college for twenty years, I can tell you that you are absolutely not alone with these types of feelings and entanglements. My unsolicited advice will sound cliche, but I’ve learned through personal experience that it is a universal truth: This will get better with time.
It’s cheesy and simple, but it’s accurate. In five or ten years, you may barely recognize the person in this essay, and you might be finishing a degree, opening a game shop, or being the ever-popular “fun uncle” to a sibling’s kid. In twelve years, you might find yourself being offered a promotion, meeting your future spouse in an unexpected place, or playing with your own children in a park. In twenty years, you might be giving a lecture, paying off a house, or seeing Rome. The point is, this is a tremendous life, and it’s only just now underway for you.
You will, of course, have a lot to do with any of these types of future events. They seem distant, but I assure you they’ll become real and present before you know it. It begins, in my opinion, with a single decision that only you can make: what do you want this life to be about?
Go after it.
With everything you have.
Because it’s inside you.
And you’ve known it’s been there all along.