Off the beaten path


art by Maddy Mueller

Alice Yu

A well-decorated comedienne, Lily Tomlin has starred in television, motion picture, and theatre shows, even appearing on Broadway in her one woman show, Appearing Nitely. With six Emmy awards, two Tony awards, one Grammy award and a Mark Twain Prize for American Humor under her belt, Tomlin has been a comedic powerhouse since the 1960s. Tomlin married her longtime girlfriend, Jane Wagner, on Dec. 31, 2013.
My interpretation of this quote begins with defining fate. On one hand, you can either view fate as set in stone with your entire life already completely written on the day you were born and your choices and actions pre-determined. This ranges from waking up 30 minutes late that one day, to deciding to quit your job ten years into the future. On the other hand, you can view fate as a flow chart with the direction of your life slowly determined with each decision. In that case, your final destination is not set until the very end.
For me, it’s much more appealing to believe that I at least have some semblance of control over my life, rather than having all the choices programmed into my head. Establishing the ideal that fate is a constantly evolving entity flows right into the concept that the road to success is always changing.
Success might be two different things from one year to the next or even from one day to another. Referring to a comment a reader left on one of my previous blogs, “how are 15 year-olds supposed to know what they want to be at 55?” We can support this questioning of expectations with the progression of our aspirations.
When we were younger, adults would ask us what we wanted to be when we “grow up” with amused faces. We’d reply with simple answers: astronaut, teacher, doctor. Ten years later, when asked the same question, the reply is oftentimes much more specialized and holds much more weight and understanding. There is an understanding that in order to become something, there is a path of hard work that must be taken. This realization and acknowledgement paves the road to our newest aspiration.
The end game isn’t set in stone and that is absolutely all right. Sometimes a metaphorical slap in the face from life stings like nothing you’ve ever known, but it shows you another dimension and direction your life could be headed. Even casting your adapting desires aside, the progressing world serves just as essential to your road to success. With qualifications for colleges and jobs changing every few years, you’re not the only one determining your life direction, the world is taking part in your journey of self-discovery as well.
As a person who can’t seem to stick with a decision — I’ve changed my potential major more times than I care to remember — I can truly attest to the fact that my end game only lasts for a few months at most. It does get extremely annoying and infuriating at times, but I’d much rather adapt my dreams, goals and future plans to fit whatever new knowledge I’ve gained than force myself into a personality that doesn’t express who I am.
Life is a continuous learning experience in which we are privilege guests. We have much to learn and we are fortunate enough to be thrown — many times unwillingly — into situations that shape our toolbox of morals and principles. Our belief and understanding of the great entity of life is always evolving, always changing with each day that we live and each person that we meet. We have dreams of how to savor and live life to all that it is which are questioned with each new discovery and encounter, pulling our soul one foot at a time on our developing, personal road to success.
By Alice Yu
Art by Maddy Mueller