Lord Tennyson, at the end of his poem ‘Ulysses,’ wrote “To Strive, To Seek, To Find, and Not To Yield.” If you ask any person who might have received an essay from me whilst in college, you can bet I included that line in it. That quote encompasses what my life is and what I want it to be. I can write an essay about anything, and include Tennyson’s words. For this essay, however, I’ll lay the words bare.
Everyone has a mission in life. I don’t necessarily mean a mission dictated by a Higher Being, or one that you’ve been set on course to follow. I don’t mean your career or job, your personal fitness or familial goals. I mean your mission. Your values and beliefs, the roadmap that you live your life by. This rule-book may not be something you’ve deliberately contemplated before, so you may not have the words for it. Before I began intentionally thinking of mine, it existed only in my personality and mannerisms.
A psych professor told me, one dreary day after I’d cried about the state of my crumbling life, that our lives were like a house. Once born, we spend every day building a house, a baby in a construction hat and diaper. Our parents, guardians, and influencers are our crew, assisting in laying the foundation, showing us the right actions that become the wallpaper, the bricks and mortar. They encourage us, build a window. They scold us, laying shingles. They boost us up, giving us all the tools necessary to create something beautiful. Pieces of them constructed into a house for us. When we exit the extremely dependent part of our lives and enter a more responsible phase, however, the house becomes threatened. You see that there are more beliefs out there than what your parents said, you find more information on the foundation you thought was solid. A bulldozer looms in the distance, closing the gap between the rock-solid childhood innocence and a strange reality. Pain ensues, the type of pain that rocks a person to their core. It could take time, or it could be instantaneous. This pain is caused by an electrical fire in the house that took you your entire life to build. The pain is the doubt, realization, and reflection that comes with discovering your own identity, beliefs, values, and personality. The house may not be demolished, but there is serious damage done. This is devastating, and can create rifts between us and our loved ones. However, the fire and pain is cause for a renovation.
A renovation gives you a chance to take what you’ve been taught and redo your windows, which now overlook what you’ve grown to believe in. You may repaint your walls, flashing colors that reflect more who you are as a person. You get to re-lay the bricks, the cupboards, you can pick the furniture and what’s included. You get a chance to be renewed.
Your mission comes from this house, this entity that you’ve built around your personal ideals. It isn’t a To-Do list, nor a Have-Done list, but an Am-Doing-Constantly list.
My mission comes deep from within and is still evolving. My mission is simple, a sentence that encompasses what I’m striving, seeking, finding, and not yielding for.
My mission is to lead a deliberate life of experiential learning, outdoor advocacy, and adventure in a prepared and peaceful manner.