Sunday, August 17, 2008

Summer Outpouring of Thoughts

Someone asked me a few days ago, "what is your philosphy on life?" It's been itching at me ever since. This morning, in my element on a Sunday morning at my computer next to a good cup of joe, I took it on.

"All the world 's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts" - William Shakespeare, As You Like It

I spent a good while of my ride to Tenafly yesterday thinking about this. What do I believe in? For the most part, my philosophy on life is something of a "live and let live" situation. I believe in balance and respect. The only thing that is the end of the world is the actual end of the world, or for the individual, death. Other setbacks are simply that, setbacks, and the human being is fantastically elastic if determined enough. Personally, I believe that every experience is to be learned from; everything from getting lost (or, getting to know a place you have not previously acquainted yourself with) to getting hurt (I'll only wrestle next to a metal table once!), to losing a competition (I lost the position of Political Science Student Association Freshman rep to Sara, and then decided to explore Urban Studies), to trying something you are new to or afraid to do (showing up at 5 in the AM to the corner of 114th and Broadway knowing absolutely no one for my first bike race, and becoming obsessed for months thereafter).

Not only do I allow myself to try the unexpected, I seek it out because as far as I am concerned, I have no idea what the potential of my person is, and therefore I should not confine myself to my comfort zone and stunt the possibilities. That's why I moved to New York. For the first 18 years of my life my goal was to get into college, and at a young enough age I realized that once I got into college I had no idea what I wanted to do in life, so I wanted to be in a place that was diverse enough to teach me some things and provide some opportunities that I had no idea existed at home. The idea of a restaurant critic was some vague idea that I had really never even thought of in suburbia.

I live life for new experiences and new takes on life. That is what this summer is about; more about finding out what I DON'T want to do with my life (I knew I didn't want to work in media before I took my internships this summer), that what I do. Now I know WHY I don't want to do this, because it is a farce and requires little to no brain power. Now that I have that out of the way, I can more accurately whittle down what I DO want to do with my life, and spend the next couple of summers really honing in on what it is I actually like.

For a less self-centered look at life, though, I turn to the word respect. I don't believe that there is a right opinion, which is why the word "opinion" exists in itself. While I certainly have my personal take on things, I respect every single person's ability to formulate their own opinions based upon their own experiences. Even the people I most vehemently disagree with I believe have a right to their own thoughts and feelings. I think this is why I like Pres Bo so much, he is so pro-free speech. I guess I would say that I believe every person has the right to their own little bit of personal space on Earth, mentally, physically, vocally. Everyone has a right to express their opinions, however biased or plain awful that they may be.

If everyone though like me the world would be so boring (another reason I showed up on Columbia's doorstep). When I was at home, no one ever contradicted me, with the exception of a few favorite high school teachers, and occasionally my family. I got to Columbia, and all of the sudden I was greeted with all of these different lifestyles and views on life. Some of my best friends became those that questioned me on a fundamental level. It drove me crazy at first, but then I realized that for the first time in my life I was having genuine intellectual conversation, and now I feel on it. More than anything in the world, I believe success in life depends not upon the answers that you give but the questions that you ask. Why is this the way it is? Can it be changed? My favorite question to ask myself is "Can I..." If I can come up with no legitimate reason not to do something, then I go for it.

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