the eternal check list

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Then: senior picture in high school     Now: confident senior in college. sort of.                                                         

Today I had my graduation check, which is when you make sure you have all your classes completed or currently enrolled in in order to graduate. As I sat there watching my advisor check off all the little boxes I couldn’t help but remember when it had seemed nearly impossible. My freshman year each major had seemed like it required much more than four years of classes- there were just so many requirements to graduate. Now 3 years and 96 credits later I am so much closer. 

It made me think about all the other things in life we feel we need to get checked off. boyfriend, check. bachelor’s degree, check. job I like, check. 

So often we are trying to cross off all the boxes in life, but the harsh reality is, if we wait until all our boxes are checked our lives may never begin. The qualifications and goals don’t go away after we complete them, they just change. They are never ending, and a part of us is always striving for them, worried that if we don’t  check them off we’ll end up alone living with a ton of cats and a job we hate. have a relationship- check. Then get engaged- check. Then get married- check. Have kids- check, check, check. 

There is no easy formula to happiness, and no one’s list of life goals is the same. Some of us want to be CEO’s of big modern-day up & coming companies, while others want to help orphan’s in another country. Neither is more important than the other, because they both need to be done. Not everyone has what it takes to be a CEO, and not everyone has the strength to help those less fortunate. Everyone must find their own passion, their purpose, and their “graduation pathway.” 

Imagine you are 25, happily married, with 2 kids, a house, and your dream job that also pays well. The ideal perfection of the American dream. 

“I’d feel pretty darn awesome,” You’d say, thinking how cool it would be if you had your life figured out that early. 

But besides being pretty much impossible, you’d still want more. Our complicated brains constantly come up with new goals for us, and just because we complete them doesn’t mean we’ll stop there. Completing something doesn’t necessarily mean lifelong happiness and satisfaction, because it’s not the end of your journey. It’s just the start of a new checklist. We are never “done,” We create dreams and goals for ourselves because if we didn’t our lives would be boring. Have you ever felt that loss of purpose? After completing something that consumed so much of your time you wondered, “what now?” ….So you start another project. We’re always wanting more… more money, more time, more dates, when will it be enough? We have to stop being greedy, and find a happy medium. Be thankful for what you have, who you are at this point in your life, and all that you have achieved. But never stop reaching for your dreams. 

When you cross off all your boxes, make new ones. When the qualifications and boxes seem as if they are impossible- keep trying. At the start of a journey it can seem as if the way there will take forever.. but then you blink, and you’re 21, in a committed relationship, and graduating from college in the spring.

check.

check. 

check. 

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3 thoughts on “the eternal check list

  1. Very well said. I agree, we are never really “done.” There’s always another step to take. Congrats on graduating and good luck!

  2. food for thought! this is stuff i’m even wondering about and wrestling with in my late 20’s. a lot of people my age and older still don’t have it figured out.

    also (not related), but do you happen to go to NU? that’s my alma mater, so that’s why i’m curious. SESP maybe? that was the only big 10 in the midwest i could think of that is also near lake michigan. i miss that place. 🙂

    • Hi! Thanks for the thoughtful comment! -kinda scary to think that this won’t be going away anytime soon though.. haha.
      I don’t, although my mom thought I should apply there- I was stubborn as always unfortunately. I actually go to Michigan State, but my hometown is in western MI, about 20 minutes from the beach.

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