The glare from the orange lights. The cool windy breeze. The rough cemented staircase grazes my thighs. It was a peaceful moment. As I sat there staring at the masochistic athletes running on the track-field in front of me, I questioned the stars above me, “What shall I do with my life?”
I have tried to find the answer many times for many years with many people. My family and close friends said I’m in this dilemma because I’ve been blessed with the ability to choose any path and succeed in it. Personally, I feel that is the worst compliment ever. If you have been, or are in the same situation as me, you would understand. With so many doors in front of you, you have that unenviable task of taking the risk of closing doors, sacrificing one thing for another, and to always resist the temptation to grab the countless of opportunities along the way. I thoroughly dislike gambling with my life.
I’ve always been envious of those with a one-track mind. Maybe, they have just one particular skill-set, or one goal in life. It doesn’t matter. They know what they want. And, that’s the recipe for happiness and success. They are the luckiest people in the world.
A few times, I’ve met up with university friends, mostly from engineering and physics departments. We often found ourselves gloomily grumbling about our grim future. “What do we want to do when we graduate? Work in a bank? Or, an engineering firm? Should we start a business, but oh gosh, we have no business idea to start with. Pursue graduate studies? To study in Singapore or overseas after three years of serving the bond?” This cycle of thought started four years ago. And, still.
How can such a simple question be so difficult? It is challenging because we are unwilling to dive into a certain direction, and we keep procrastinating by wading around. We keep touching bases but never really running the whole way for the home run.
Like me. I love knowledge, but does that mean I should pursue graduate studies? And, if so, in what? I enjoyed basic microbiology very much, but will I be turned off by such heavy readings in graduate studies? I love healthcare, but not medicine as I’m very queasy about blood and needles; so, should I pursue anthropology and social sciences to research on public health? History is my newly-found forte too, but a historian? The prospects in Asia seems dim.
On the other hand, I love writing too. I admire authors and journalists who do their very best to share their philosophies of life and their perspectives of the world. I’ve always imagined that writers, despite having to spend many lonely months staring at the computer, they would meet people from all walks of life, talk to them, gain inputs, and write fascinating stories. Or, perhaps, they would use their imaginations to understand the world, simplifying it a little to compose a story of life. But, then again, as an outsider looking in, the world of writing might not be as glorious as it seems.
Or, should I choose to be a teacher? I know of many acquaintances claiming that they would be great teachers who are simply blind to their limitations, and I wouldn’t want to be lumped in that same category. But, I have to say, I know I would definitely make a good teacher, if not because of my dedication to serve, it might be because I believe that to teach is to change the world. Teachers or educators have the power to change lives for the better, or worse. They can inspire (e.g. my high-school and college biology teachers) or dishearten people (e.g. my university math professors). They can make the world a better place by giving useful knowledge (e.g. training engineers or future leaders of the world), or a worse one by giving depraved, lopsided knowledge (e.g. fascists or foolish fanatics). Education can change beliefs and the way people think, which can change how they live their lives and how they impact other people’s lives, and ultimately, change the world. Education is so powerful. But, to be a humble teacher, am I noble enough to be one? Will I be happy and satisfied being a teacher?
Or… should I just toss everything to the cosmos, and scream, “I will not decide what I want to be yet! I’ll let life decide for me. Whatever comes, let it come. Que sera sera. What will be, will be. Come what may, I’ll just strive to be happy and make people around me happy.”
But, would that be the lazy way out?
Would that mean, I’ll be ambition-less?