At this point in my junior year, success and the workplace seems to be a looming topic, and with the pressure that will follow in these next years I wanted to develop this idea of success that would keep me grounded. Through finding one’s true success, I determined that happiness and meaning would not be far behind.
At first this project was aimed towards the discovery and search for happiness and meaning. We had started by diving into the realm of existentialism, and the crisis which can sometimes cause people to question their personal meaning. Existentialism is a truly fascinating subject, and I know now that even when simply learning about existentialism I began to have questions about existence myself. It is a scary thing, but is key to developing the idea that meaning comes from within, as well as true happiness. We also learned about the transcendentalist mindset, which although did not necessarily fit in with my own beliefs, still seemed interesting to me as a way to view existence. Then came the subcategories, and specific ways in which happiness and meaning can be brought forth. Some chose to look towards sense of place, and the idea that your surrounding can influence your life drastically, however I chose to research what success means to me. When people ask what success is, there seem to be a wide variety of answers, however I wanted to combine different philosophies to create a definition that I feel embodied everything.
There were several things that, throughout this project, made a profound impact on the way I think about my future and my happiness. The first is, by far, the idea that sense of place can make a large impact on an individual. In the mountains of Creede over the previous summer I discovered a feeling of euphoria which I had not previously felt, and through this project I discovered that sense of place described my feelings exactly. During Spring Break, and while in the heart of this project, I visited Creede again to influence my writing and my thoughts on success. When writing in an area which gave me such euphoria, not only was I able to easily produce work by the words would flow from my brain to my keyboard easily. It was a strange feeling when I boosted my work ethic all because of my surroundings. I then felt that I could incorporate my feelings into what it means to be successful, which resulted in the idea that part of success comes from the location which you can work your best. Another major takeaway from this project is the process of overcoming an existential crisis if and when the time may come. With all of the unknowns that exist, about almost everything, it is easy to slip into a nonproductive downer mindset. Becoming an ‘absurd hero’ means that you have been able to enter and escape the void that is created within an existential crisis, and knowing how to do that will help me in the future. The key, in my eyes and from what we learned, is to stay grounded and accept that life, whether or not you matter in the large spectrum of the universe, is too short to waste. Even if you feel you are not making a difference, do what appeals to you and live life with authenticity to escape this unproductive form of thought.
I feel as if the biggest question which I have now cannot be answered until the moment it happens, but that is that I question what, in the future, will shape the meaning in my life. Will it be the combination of my career, the area in which I live, and my relationships? Will I ever truly know what my meaning is, or will it guide me without my knowledge? In this phase of my life, and with the prospect of careers and colleges beginning to loom, this project has helped further develop another important question, which asks what I career path I may follow. Through developing my ideas on success, I now have a better understanding of what I want to look for when it comes to potential career choices. There are, of course, still questions which I hold that would fall under the existential form of thought. These, as I am sure is the same with everyone, are extremely profound and often times unanswerable questions. Why are we here? What came before the universe? Where is space going? These are all questions which seem too big for me, and in my times of doubt it is a good reminder to keep in my lane and stay grounded.