The following are the first ten questions of a 50 question guide. Each question gives you something to think about and a new way to look at yourself. With warning, this is a wordy post. However, even if you don't have time to read it all I strongly suggest you take a look at the list of 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind sometime and try to answer them yourself. They definitely make you look at your life and think about your experiences, beliefs, and where you want to progress to.
- How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? Hmm.... Assuming physical appearance isn't part of this I would probably guess myself somewhere around my early 30s. I've always felt way older and more responsible than my peers at any given age. In fact, I would say too much so.
- Which is worse, failing or never trying? I am actually not sure at this question. I'm sure the 'proper' response is never trying. However, if I fail at something repeatedly I am less and less likely to give it a shot. I'd say never trying is worse but at some point to call it quits if it's giving you frustration. There are a lot of things you'll succeed at though which are worth a try!
- If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do? The first part of this one is easy. Other people! There have been a lot of things in my life that I didn't want to do but, as my dad would say, life isn't fair. We have obligations in our lives, we pick up responsibility, and sometimes social norms just don't let us get rid of people that are unhealthy in our lives. The second part is a little harder. I think the reason that we sometimes don't do things we like is because we're afraid of them or don't feel good enough. Well, at least for me that's true.
- When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done? This is a question that I don't think I can answer right now. At this point in my life I feel like I've said more although that may not be true. I think in this age of social media (which I love - don't get me wrong) we oftentimes compare our lives to others' because we can see so much of their lives. Sometimes that makes me feel like I don't do much all the time but, right now, I don't have any resources. I'll be using my gas money to drive 70 miles a day to an all day job while not getting paid. So... my hope is once we have jobs and get out of college we can do more. I'd like to say that in the end I'll have done a lot of things.
- What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world? I would like to have people see the consequences of their actions and feel more sympathy. We are self-centered as a whole group and there are a lot of people who don't care to show their love and don't mind if they hurt others. I think if we could feel the pain we inflict on others we would stop and the world would be happier for it.
- If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich? This one is surprisingly easy. Reading books, taking pictures, blogging, and spending time with Noah.
- Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing? Oh, I definitely live my life by what I believe in. You may remember me posting a poem called Sermons We See and I try to apply that to my life every day.
- If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently? This one is also fairly easy for me because I feel it every day even though the average is somewhere around 78... I would marry Noah right away (which at this point, it can't be too much earlier but maybe I would have done that after four or five years instead of seven). Then I would have kids younger than 28 or 29 which is the current plan so I can spend more time with them. I would also not worry about money as much because it doesn't need to last you as long.
- To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken? This is the real zinger. If I wrote an autobiography this could fill at least one whole chapter. Remember back at Question #1 when I said that I've always felt too responsible compared to my peers? This is related to that. At this exact point in my life I would say I have controlled around 35% of my life. For the most part (~ 50%) I've sort of floated through following the general guidelines of a middle class life (go to school, go to college, get in a relationship). I've been okay with this part of life although I always feel like it's monotonous and that there could be a vastly different, better way to spend time. Then 15% has been to please other people (read: my parents, Noah's parents, friends, church, any obligations). This 15% is shows itself in my life as the unpleasant times, the times I let others have a say in my life and I don't want it. This is the time in high school after Noah and I started dating and everyone said "you shouldn't be chemistry lab partners, what if you break up?", this is the time when his parents say "don't follow Alli to JMU, go to our alma mater, Michigan", "you can't live together you're not married", or when Noah first told them we were dating and his mom said "well, how's this going to end? are you going to break up and hurt each other or are you going to get married because those are the only ways this will end?". This is when I am frustrated, and upset, and feel that people don't respect my decisions because I'm 22. Then we have my 35%. The 35% is me saying "yes, we can be lab partners", the 35% is me taking control by asking Noah on a date, the 35% is me standing up to live together and enjoying it as my favorite years of my life so far and falling more in love with Noah with the more time that I spend with him, the 35% is me choosing every action every day in college, choosing what clubs and courses to take, and choosing how to spend my free time and what friends I have. That percentage of my life has been the happiest. I have always been incredibly smart and good at using foresight to make my decisions and I'm happy with every, single one.
- Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things? Oooooh. I'm definitely more worried about doing the right things. This also corresponds to questions 1 & 9. I feel like I have to live the best life possible, always be responsible, never act rashly or spontaneously, and I do what everyone expects. It's the right thing to go to college, it's the right thing to wait SEVEN YEARS to get married because we're young, it's the right thing to not get engaged until after five and a half years because any earlier and people might say we're too young, it's the right thing to stay in, study, and get good grades, it's the right thing to never drink, it's the right thing to not travel/buy drinks/go on dates/day trips because I need that money to drive to student teaching and to pay for books ..... the list goes on. Noah and I make every responsible decision we can and honestly... sometimes it hurts me to do that. I'm happy because I've made no mistakes in my life, nothing I'll regret later. BUT this comes with a consequence. I have very few stories that I look back and laugh about, few wild experiences, and no youth. I feel like I bypassed all those experiences you're supposed to have at this age in favor of being an adult to earn respect only to not receive it because people assume I am just like every other girl in her early 20s. It's still not winning.
Well, that was certainly longer than I expected it to be but I feel a lot better putting it out there. You can see little sides of myself (the obvious pride and slight arrogance in not "acting young" and the sadness at that same characteristic). If you answer any of the 50 questions let me know, I'd love to see what you write.