Today All Groan Up welcomes Jonathan Jackson — an uncommonly focused, aspiring marketer and sneaker connoisseur. Find more of his stellar writing at jonathandjackson.wordpress.com or follow him on Twitter.
Drive. Motivation. The will to win. The “x” factor (<– lame). Whatever you want to call it, people always have a “why”.
Mine disappeared. It started subtly at first. A bit of nervousness about where I would end up next year, what friendships would change, where I would relocate too? I shrugged it off as normal senior year worries. But they kept growing. They expanded from simply thoughts about the future to concerns about everyday things.
When I first arrived at school, the why was simple: fit in or live in self-imposed social introversion? I chose the former. Brick by brick, relationship by relationship, I started to carve out a niche. And it worked. I gained friends, built networks, and generally found my way through a relatively complex and nuanced social interactions that are college. And then senior year came.
There is a process going on
It is probably the main reason I haven’t blogged since September. I haven’t trusted my own thoughts, much less the words I try to craft. But it’s more commonplace than I thought. Many of my friends suffer in silence; choosing to inhale pain and exhale frustration rather than express their actual fears about what our final year as an undergraduate really means. A senior in college is a freshman in life, but we hate to admit it. We really do not know what’s coming next. No one does. Even worse, we try to supplement our lack of knowledge by listening to all the opinions we can corral and construct a picture of what our future might be, without ever diving deep enough to really engage with our fears. Or, that’s what I do. So I found/find/am finding myself at a loss when faced with the question “What’s next?”
Letting go of the wheel, to gain control.
I do not control everything in my life. Not my family, not the events and circumstances that happen to them or me, or even how they react to things. That realization is difficult, because more often than not all I hear about is lack of personal responsibility = lack of opportunity. It is never that simple. You can only take responsibility for what you can control; overstepping that can cause more harm than good. Letting go, the process of exhaling, is somehow foreign to me, but has been freeing when I actually do it.
With the end of the semester, and looking into a new year, my mother’s favorite phrase somehow comforts and confuses me. “God has a plan for your life Jonathan. Your decisions determine your destiny.” I thought I fully understood the weight of that declaration, but my eagerness to be grown overshot my willingness to learn like a child. The decision to deal with what I can control is harder lesson but a necessary one if I ever want to stop losing my “why”. In the new year, I am resolving to accept only what I have control over and let the rest go. Few things are more powerful than living on purpose.