The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Feeling existential?

Do you ever wake up to the beeping of your alarm, hit the snooze button and quietly contemplate why you get up at all? This may sound depressing, no doubt it is, but do you ever wonder what you’re doing on this planet? I think that no matter what level of success one may achieve, this pestilent question still lingers. It is the most basic question a person can ask. Why do I exist and what am I here for? The shortest poem in the world sums up our basic cognitive existence with, “I, why?”

I believe that every human life is precious and deserves nurturing to reach her or his potential. People are amazing. I am still in awe of the sky-scrapers we build to the clouds and technology that allows us to instantly communicate with someone from across the globe. The human mind is capable of so much and every day new breakthroughs are made in the realm of science and technology, it can be hard to keep up.

But what about you and me? Where are we in this whole mix of things? What’s our purpose in this modern day society? I remember asking my classmates at a very young age what they wanted to do when they grew up, if any of us truly achieve that (being fully grown). I was always quick to hear doctor, lawyer, fireman and the other typical professions that most children prematurely claim as their own. I remember being quite pessimistic about their dreams, thinking it was probably the result of some parental brainwashing, which was probably true in many cases.

When I used to think about my purpose on this planet I pondered the notion of destiny and whether or not we all really do have one. Increasingly, however, I believe destiny is something we can hold in our own hands. The world is a changing place and each morning I find myself being put in new situations with new challenges. The result is that I am this constantly evolving person adapting to what the world has to give me, and I’m changing the world a little while I’m at it.

I believe that our lives are a journey with road blocks, up and downhill treks, forks in the road and the regular meeting of other travelers on the way. I’ve tried to plan my trip, but time and time again those plans go to the wayside to pursue new dreams with people I never expected to come into my life. In O, The Oprah Magazine (yes, I’m a proud reader!), Oprah has a one-page closing to each issue. It is a section titled “What I know for sure.” It is probably the most inspiring piece of literature I read each month. In her life, she makes note of the things she learns along the way that serve as a guide. She noted in her last “I know for sure” that everything she knows for sure is subject to change. “What?!” I asked myself. Then I realized that it’s true.

In this life, the only thing that is certain is that everything changes, both the world and us. So, the debate of getting up in the morning should not be based on whether you know who you are or where you’re going or not, since most of us don’t know that anyway. It should be based on the desire to live, the desire to have the experiences in life that lead us to our final destination – hopefully making the world a better place. One of my favorite quotes is, “There are no shortcuts to the places worth going.” This is true, so don’t expect the road to be free of misery, loss, tears, heartache and every other feeling associated with human suffering. At the same time, expect to laugh, rejoice, scream of excitement and have wonderful experiences that are uniquely your own.

I’m trying not to worry about success too much. I am focusing on living every day to the fullest and being the best that I can be. It will be different for every single person on this planet.

I’m taking it one day at a time. And who knows? Maybe all that time contemplating my destiny is just another reason to stay in bed.

Brent Lemons is a junior international relations and political science major. He can be reached for comment at blemons@smu.

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