Musings on Everything

I muse, therefore I write.

On Shifting Priorities

Every time I come out of a summer break, I think to myself, “I could have done more with that time.” I could have saved the world, maybe, cured cancer. I could have gotten some more volunteer hours in, maybe gotten a job or something. Even though I applied to several businesses and heard back from none of them, and have neither the expertise nor scientific respect to reliably cure cancer. I did quite a bit of volunteer work, to the point where sitting here with four holes in my jaw is some of the only downtime I’ve had since June. And I still feel I need to do more.

More, more, more. It’s the watchword of our society, the mantra by which everybody lives their daily lives. Need to get on your boss’s good side? Work more. Need to keep that job in these tough economic climes? Put in more hours than the guy in the cube next to you. Want to get into Harvard? Well, that’s a crapshoot no matter how you look at it, but it damn sure wouldn’t hurt to put in more volunteer hours, do more stuff. More more more.

Whatever happened to getting on your boss’s good side by taking him out to dinner? Whatever happened to prioritizing, to learning how to get the important stuff done first so you can relax? Whatever happened to positive attitudes?

I’ve been noticing, more and more, that the topics of discussion amongst regular people trend towards the bad stuff going on in the world. Listening to my parents talk means being treated to a discussion on whether their jobs are going to remain theirs, or whether I’ll get into a good college and do well in it.

I don’t know. I used to be that guy, Mr. Cheer-Up-Already-Damn-It. I think the stress of the world is getting to me now, same as it’s gotten to some of you already. It’s odd, dealing with the fact that who you thought you were is not really who you’re becoming. Or who you want to become. Maybe this is a part of growing up. Probably it is. All I know is I can see my goals, my priorities, shifting, changing away from what I thought they were to something completely different. This time last year, I was convinced I’d be going into the business world, living the high life in New York City. Now, I’d like nothing better than to sit in some lab and mess with DNA for the rest of my life in some secluded glade in Washington State.

Perhaps this is that damn work ethic popping up again. One last academic hurrah before going off to college, where I’ll be naught else but a data point, left to sink or swim on my own. Every time in the past when the voice in the back of my head goes, “Do some work this time, or you’ll be sorry!” I nearly always choose to ignore it. This time, though… I’m thinking maybe I should listen to it. Seriously. It’s unprecedented. Maybe that’ll be my goal for this year… actually put some effort into what I do, instead of merely skating by on whatever transient information I already know, or manage to pick up in class between naps.

What else do I have to lose, right?

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Written by Sri

September 27, 2009 at 1:19 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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