I just submitted my last essay for this semester at uni. Honestly, it has not been my favourite semester of study. Far from it. I was slow moving at the beginning, still carrying lethargy held over from the previous semester. I found that I couldn't get into the subject content. My timetable was inconvenient. And several work related trips and a holiday prevented me from getting to numerous classes. It was just a very random, very slow moving, odd sort of semester. Hence my excitement to have submitted this final essay.
That same staleness extended into my work life too. For a good portion of this year so far, a significant proportion of my work was accompanied by rolled eyes and groans of despair. Yet, when I look back on the beginning of this year, its hard to pinpoint just what went wrong for me. Sure, my year started of with an uncertain living situation and several other personal messes; but for the most part it has been business as usual.
It was only recently that the answer dawned on me. You see, 16 year old Adam decided he didn't want to "sell out". I wasn't going to play the games of what I saw to be a corporate-driven, resume-ic society, interested only in what you've done or what you can do, not in who you are. Part of my anarchic, rebellious, free-spirited attitude was born of big dreams. Most of it was underwritten by uncertainty of what I could actually do and a laziness to figure it out.
That led to a wild, free-wheeling adventure - at the least significantly wilder and more free-wheeling than a sixteen year old introverted homebody could imagine for himself. A real job or an education were the last things on my mind.
Fast forward to the first few months of this year and I found myself it what seemed like an unending game of catch ups with university and work. Sixteen year old Adam was raging inside of me in the form of disillusionment and impatience. It was all becoming too much like hard work and that big dreamer in me felt like the dream had died.
That's not where my head's at now. The last few months I wrestled with the seeming plain-ness of my lifestyle and somehow discovered my legacy in it. Ok, that's a dramatic leap, but somewhere within the mounds of assignments and paperwork I found myself taking responsibility for my life. Every word of that 1600 word essay or work-related email was a subconscious choice to be something more than an inspired thought. I'm not just studying or working for the sake of it.
See, that dream that sixteen year old Adam had was to make a difference in the world, and I thought that meant I had to be different. It's easy to be different by doing less - or being less. This year life did feel different because I was doing more: more work, more study then I ever had before. Doing more I hope will lead to being more. And being more is significant as my dreams become more specific. As a (nearly) twenty-five year old, (what feels to be like) nearly graduated, (relatively) somewhat experienced Church worker; starting a family and working a full-time job where I get to impact the community is more reality than a idea.
The point of all of this is that I grew disillusioned by a process. I think in wanting to make sense of our life and experiences, in valuing our call or vocation, we try to give meaning to everything in life. That's not realistic. There are things in life that don't carry the same weight as significant objectives, there are things in life that are simply processes. The processes still matter obviously - if I didn't care about my uni work I would fail my classes and what help would it be to me then? - but they don't have to be packed full of excitement.
As young people or as dreamers perhaps we look for that excitement everywhere and in everything. When we don't find it we grow disillusioned and lose sense of the bigger picture. In learning not to get bogged down in the processes, I grew in my self-knowledge. In just getting on with it I learned about the things I actually prioritise and I was able to get on with being about who I know I'm called to be.
Life is more than the processes. We shouldn't get so caught up in them we lose touch with the bigger picture.