Today I got an email about a neat internship this semester at the U.S. Embassy in Doha. I’ve been interested in the State Department since early high school, and this would be an incredible chance to see what life as a foreign service agent is like. But I am not applying for it. Yesterday, I saw that CMU-Qatar has a literary magazine that is seeking editors. I was a junior editor on the Oakland Review my freshman year and enjoyed it. But I will not be joining.
I’m full up. I have enough commitments this semester. This is my most important lesson from last semester. I have a principal role in the musical, am a writing tutor for 10 hours a week, am singing in the Doha Singers once a week, playing basketball on the CMU-Qatar women’s team, and carrying a full load of classes. I have left no major part of my life starving. I should make it through the semester happy and balanced and unburned-out and better educated. That is my current definition of success.
Let’s see how long it holds.
“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson
Many of us – especially in our family! – face such similar choices, so it might be interesting to see the results of our choices. It’s a kind of greed for life, and if you have a good brain, lots of interests, family support, some money, lots of choices – which do you pick? My brother Bob picked a few and did very well with them, ended up with good jobs, lots of friends, generally felt good about himself. My brother Richard said yes to everything (good and bad!), did everything possible in life, was very successful, much loved, had a great life – and was killed by a drunk driver when he was 31. My mother wept because of all he would miss in life; however, he didn’t miss a thing (I never told her of many of the things he got into!) because he never turned down anything. I’ve said yes to a whole lot of things, no to a few (which I regretted,) and wish I had tried even more – especially travel. Your current decision to go slow is sensible, healthy, somewhat cautious – and I’d bet you won’t stick to this decision for long. Anyone with all your brains and talent will want more and more. At this time in life try lots – unless they are dangerous or involve others than yourself. Warning: it’s easier to experiment a lot now, but after you get married and/or have kids it often gets impossible.