The Yellow Pages

Life's questions completely unexplained

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“Tell Me, What is it you Plan to Do?”

Theme: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

A few months ago someone asked me what I plan to do with my life. Trying to be mysterious, I told him that I plan to “live”. It could’ve been my need to be philosophic and ambiguous, but I was pretty convinced this was my answer.

A few weeks later the same person asked me this question again. This time I gave him an hour’s worth of my dreams, passions, inspirations, and plans for my vast and unknown future. When I ran out of breath and words, he asked me: “Why didn’t you just say this at first?”.
tumblr_mzb94rt6c41siyi21o1_500Though I was taken aback, he made a very good point: why didn’t I just say this at first? Did I use the ambiguous answer of “live” to avoid talking about the future? Was I scared of making plans? Of having those plans fail?

What am I scared of?

Last night, I had a bit of a “beginning of the semester crisis”. I realized that the classes I was taking and the major I was pursuing, weren’t really what I wanted. I ended the night lying flat on the table in the middle of the lounge while my friends watched “the Parent Trap” and I felt trapped.

As college students, it’s easy to feel like we stand on the edge of a cliff with the sole task of finding our way down. One misstep and we will tumble over the edge, leaving any hope of success among the falling rocks. We lean over the edge, wishing we could glimpse the bottom or that someone would lend us a parachute.

tumblr_mz51ga3VdC1rzqyago1_500I recently came across the last line of the Mary Oliver poem, “The Summer Day”:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

This line resonates not because of the question it asks but the statement it makes: My one wild and precious life.

Yes, we do stand on the cliff’s edge, but it’s not the fear of falling that keeps us there—it’s our vicious will to live. We get one, and only one, life and it is our choice how wild and precious we make it. The classes we take, the majors we choose, the jobs we get, the people we meet, the decisions we make all become part that parachute we previously asked for.

We will remain on that cliff’s edge with our dreams, passions, inspirations, and plans strapped to our back until we decide to take that step forward into our vast and unknown future. There is no need to feel like somehow we aren’t living ‘right’ or we are doing something ‘wrong’ if we stay on the edge. And though it’s cheesy, psuedo-philosophic, and completely ambiguous—if you asked me what it is I plan to do with my life, I will still always answer live.


Unanswerable question: what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

tumblr_mztmdktZRC1s9sn4ao1_500-2(^Searched ‘hipster gifs’ and this is what I get)