The other day Kelli asked me what my aspirations were. Well… sort of. Her boyfriend had wanted to know (currently all he does know is the approximate time I walk from 22nd street to Union Square every night…swear that’s not creepy) and she relayed the message. So Steve, since you’re now following me on twitter (#thanks) and may see this post if I tweet it (#mosdef), this is for you.
Aright. I have this thing where sooo many things intrigue me, adventure and the unknown provide me with comfort, and I have absolutely no ability to switch off my head that’s constantly bursting with stories, ideas, desires, and questions. And at one time, I had a long list of aspirations that filled every screaming moment of curiosity: getting a Masters in global health, signing a record deal, writing a bestseller, running (fast) marathons, making music in West Africa, climbing mountains, and winning the lotto and doing nothing but knit and build lean-to’s.
But I’ve recently realized that even if I could achieve all that (let’s be serious, I, eh..wouldn’t), I don’t know how valuable that would be. Could I put my heart into it all? Would each feat have the same meaning, or would that meaning be spread thin? And maybe even this: could there be some aspiration I didn’t even know existed? And how would I find it?
So I turn to my favorite book by Herman Hesse, Siddhartha. One of the most important quotes (to me) is, “Perhaps that you seek too much, that as a result of your seeking you cannot find.” And I think for a while, I was constantly seeking out a certain goal (or seven?) and became tunnel visioned, doing anything and everything I possibly could to attain every goal in life. And while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, I didn’t really let life sort of lead itself in a direction unbeknownst to me.
I graduated and moved myself to D.C., since I landed a job that fit “perfectly” with my Anthro major and slight obsession with African cultures. And while the Smithsonian African Art museum sounded lovely, I knew next to no one in D.C., and ended up quitting my job almost a month later in an intense, tear and anger filled meeting (woops). From that moment on, many other things happened as a result of my fierce “seeking” quest. And four jobs and probably 20 something states later, I found myself unemployed in New York City, the one place I had been trying so hard to tear away from.
But then, life seemed to work itself out. I stopped feverishly seeking, and (so thankfully) landed a job that intersected my passions, talents, and work rhythm. I found amazing people and have made wonderful friendships. And I’m living in a city that I used to hate… and then appreciated… and now, maybe, am slowly beginning to love. And I want Greatist to succeed beyond the success it has already gained and have the whole world see its vision—its incredible value.
And my aspiration? For me, I think boxing myself into one specific goal is just as dangerous as having too many. Instead, I’m devoting my energy to this: genuinely impacting others while staying curious, challenged, and happy. And whatever country I end up in, project I devote my time to, and people I surround myself with, I will spiral all my energy into this hope.
And climb Kilimanjaro.