What Am I Doing With My Life? Alternative Living 2
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What Am I Doing With My Life? Alternative Living 2

A look at goals, flexibility, courage and willingness to fail.

What Am I Doing With My Life? Alternative Living 2
Emerson Roberts

Here is my life plan: I will go to a prestigious university to study environmental science. After my bachelors, I will get a Ph.D. Maybe I will fall in love along the way. A dog is a certainty. And I will dedicate my life to creating a better world.

"They're attached to punctuality as a fetish." -Alan Watts

My pen explodes as I'm writing out my future's timeline. Ink runs everywhere, and all that's left is "I will dedicate my life to creating a better world."

I can work with that.

Today it is August 15th, 2018. This past year I took a gap year to volunteer, save money, build my resume, and center myself a bit before going to school. I'm spending my summer as a maintenance crew member at a summer camp in the Adirondacks. I've learned about carpentry, plumbing, and electrical, along with how to chop wood, how to fix a hole in the wall, and too many other small life skills to list. In one and a half weeks, the camp will be over and I'll return home.

I'm carpooling back to Jersey with a friend who is visiting the metro NYC area. As of now, I have no clue what I will do after I leave her car. I had a plan. A really good one. I was playing my cards right. I found a well-respected school, and it even would have paid for my tuition based on merit. So why aren't I following that path?

Maybe the gap year did get to me. Everyone warned me it would. "As long as you have a school to go to afterward," people would say hesitantly, "I guess it couldn't hurt."

I've grown up being told I'll do great things. Teachers used to joke that I'll win a Nobel prize one day. That I'll write a best-seller. That I'll make the world's next greatest scientific discovery. Once my friend told me he had a dream that I fixed the American agricultural system.

But I know that to reach those crazy goals, school is not the answer right now. Action is.

There is a voice in the back of my head telling me I will fail. That I am making a mistake and will regret it. That I'm young and dumb and naive and not taking my life seriously. But nothing could be further from the truth.

I will do great things. And I will do them outside the classroom. I have the drive, the willpower, the logic, and the intelligence necessary to make outstanding impacts on the world.

Maybe one day I will go back to school.

But for now, I'll be occupied.

I am writing a series called Alternative Life, throughout which I document all of my quirky life stories, decisions, and lessons. Step off the conveyor belt with me. I promise it's worth the view.

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