Adulthood, the Future, and Our Weird, Beautiful Lives
Sunday, February 26, 2012Tweet
Today's inspiration comes from another YouTube video. You don't have to watch it to read the post, but I think you'll be glad you did.
There are a lot of things I love about this video.
Since I recently wrote about how much of my time gets sucked away by customer service problems, I thought his comment that "adulthood primarily consists of standing in line and being on hold" was one of those statements that is both funny and sad because of its truth.
But aside from that, his comment that he thought adulthood would consist of having interesting conversations about great books made me exceptionally grateful for the blogosphere and my fantastic readers specifically, since even as an adult I do get to continue having interesting and challenging discussions -- sometimes about books, but also about religion, marriage, politics, education, sex, and all of the other topics I find fascinating.
How the Future Unfolds
By chronicling the career paths he and his friends took after college, he deftly dismantles the notion that our college dreams (and majors) somehow dictate our future. And hearing the paths that he and Randy each took, I was reminded again that it's impossible to predict exactly how our future will unfold because so much happens in response to unexpected events. I mean, no one says to himself, "Yes, I am going off to make films and think that I will end up writing for a magazine because my friend who is going to divinity school is going to drop out and end up working for a magazine and will want to hire me."
I'm less than three years out of college and I could have never predicted when I graduated that I would be working not in publishing but in data analysis. You don't plan for things like, "I'll get an administrative assistant job because I'm desperate and then the director of assessment is going to move onto the floor where I'm working and I'm going to be bored and looking for extra work and that's how I'll end up running the entire school's course evaluation system."
I believe this is what Ramit Sethi calls "being open to serendipity."
What Life is Really About
What I love most about this video is when John points out that, as cool and crazy as it is that he and his friend are both atop the New York Times' Bestsellers List, that isn't what gives meaning and beauty to his life. His friendship with Randy is wrapped up not in their career accomplishments but in the times they've spent together and the memories associated with those.
What does it mean to have a "successful" life? We will not all have the opportunity to be on the New York Times' Bestsellers List, or whatever the equivalent is in our own lines of work, but we all have the opportunity to build strong and lasting relationships. John has had the good fortune to have both experiences, and he places more stock in those relationships and memories. That should be a clue to the rest of us about where our time and energy are most valuably spent.
Also, I enjoy getting to see John Green as a dorky college student :)