What Do You Want from Life?

Well, since this is my first post, I thought it would be appropriate to begin with a quote from one of my favorite authors– who happens to be from one of my favorite countries— Paulo Coelho from Brasil.

It’s like this:

“What do you want? You can’t want to be happy, because that’s too easy and too boring. You can’t want only to love, because that’s impossible. What do you want? You want to justify your life, to live it as intensely as possible. That is at once a trap and a source of ecstasy. Try to be alert to that danger and experience the joy and the adventure of being that woman who is beyond the image reflected in the mirror.”

I identify so much with the chosen quote, which is taken from The Witch of Portobello (a novel of Coelho’s), because it addresses the inner conflict and joy of a woman who has chosen to live an unorthodox life.  The implicit pressure of society to be “happy” and to “love” as life’s redeeming qualities is challenged.  Surely, there must be more to life!  A friend recently told me, after I remarked that I hate making decisions, that we ARE our decisions.  Every single choice we have all made in life has taken us on a unique path that leads to yet another choice, branching out into an intricate web of the past and present.

Most of my decisions in life have been in the pursuit to live it in the most adventurous, soul-satisfying way.  This isn’t always a practical idea, at least at the level of societal norms, but so be it.  I don’t see life in terms of $dollar bills$ or materials.  I didn’t study—either in undergrad or graduate school—to get a better job.  I elected American Literature and Culture (English, basically) and Latin American Studies because I actually wanted to learn.  I wanted to delve into the world of the word, honing my reading and writing skills; thereafter, I delved into the world of Latin American politix and art because I wanted to expand my knowledge and comprehension of a region I’d often visited (and also to learn Portuguese).  I did not study because I wanted to get a bigger paycheck; I studied because I wanted to learn.  Is there something so wrong with that?  The constant, annoying question of “And what are you going to do with that degree?” certainly makes it seem like there is, but I disagree.

Saving up and then taking off months on end to travel abroad throughout the years doesn’t sound so pragmatic either, does it?  Well, that’s what I’ve done, and I do not regret one day that I have been on the road.  It makes me who I am, and, though I am penniless and technically homeless, I would do it all over again. I am not merely the vision that you see when you look at me, nor the reflection that stares back in the mirror; I am so much more.

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