Recently, I’ve been listening to Billy Joel’s song, “Vienna”. I highly enjoy it and feel like it encapsulates not only my life in high school and college, but also those all around me. One lyric stood out in particular:
“Slow down, you’re doing fine/You can’t be everything you want to be before your time, although it’s so romantic on the borderline tonight…”
It was a beautiful lyric in that it gave me images of what it would be like thinking about one’s life while strolling on a beautiful street in the snow. At the same time, it harkens to what I’ve been noticing in my life, through which I’m about to choose my major, to what I want to do in my future, and what I ultimately want to stand for in my life.
I pride myself in objectivity, or at least on what is as close as objectivity as I can. I want to listen to other perspectives and leave them as good ideas, rather than imprinting my judgement on everyone. I read a lot of books and articles and so I think I’m able to accurately judge everything. And therefore, I stood onto my neutrality.
However, I remember multiple times in which somebody pushed me to take a stand or support a sports club all throughout high school. There was even one time in which I had to translate a quote from Herodotus’ The Histories and say if I agreed with it or not. I said I agreed with it, in which somebody should go out and suffer pain instead of hiding out because somebody should go out and do what they’re passionate about.
On the one hand, I’ve decided in my mind what I stood for politically, and what field I was going to study for the rest of my life. So I have took a risk in what I wanted, and in many things that were more trivial, but were also prominent in developing who I was, such as my decision to learn Chinese and Fencing.
On the other hand, I had a hard time affirming my beliefs and defending them. Especially considering how polarized people are on the internet, armed with information which might be just as biased as it is false, I’m worried I might be wrong. On the other hand, when it comes to my educational choices, I get questions about if it is profitable in today’s marketplace.
So I want to do something significant with my life, yes, but I want to be on the right side of history in the end. I admire those who courageously go out into battle, whether on literal killing fields, or on the streets to protest stolen rights, or to argue eloquently through speeches or essays.
As I look forward to the new year, I realize that I am scattered all around. I have options, yes, but I want to find something I believe in. And, clichéd as it seems, risk it all for it. But how?