My Highest Aim
My Yoga Teacher Trainer asked us to write an essay about what our highest aim is. And I have been giving this some thought, because normally I have a passionate and detailed answer. But this time around, I realized that it is very hard for me to articulate exactly what it is that I am aiming for.
I have had so many battles over the last 15 years regarding what it is that I am going to be.
Since being quite young, I have always wanted to be a surgeon. I have been interested in human anatomy before I was in kindergarden, taking my grandmothers art and anatomy books and tracing the pictures. I was fascinated by all the systems that made the body work. So naturally, in high school I took upper level science courses, and declared pre-med track in college. But college threw me for a loop.
My grandmother was diagnosed with cancer months before I left, and my mother quit working to take care of her. The expense of taking care of my grandmothers needs and expenses, along with keeping our family going on one paycheck made for a very stressful transition to the private university that I was accepted to. I felt enormous pressure to do my absolute best in school, even though I didn’t have any money, and neither did my parents. But, they demanded that I stay, since it had always been their dreams for me to get into the best college possible. I ended up doing my absolute worse, in my life, and nearly failing out of school in the first 2 years. Eventually (and with a heavy heart) I dropping pre-med junior year, and changed my major to Psychology, and was good at. I learned many things from those tumultuous years, but it also put a damper on my dreams of being a doctor. I lost confidence that I was good at science, which had been my lifetime love.
My experience in grad school helped to rebuild my sense of self. I was working 60 hour weeks and working on my Anthropology Masters and making As and Bs. It made me remember what I loved about learning, and that I am a good scientist. I even wanted to pursue medical school again. But when the time came, I hesitated. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be in a hospital for the next 4 years because between undergrad and graduate school I was exposed to a career in information technology. And I loved it.
So instead I decided to try to focus on my IT career, which has lead me to software development and learning to be a ruby and rails developer. It satisfies my need to be an explorer and build things.
Now that I am in full swing of pursing that cause, I am thinking again about how to meld my passions and interest into a career that ultimately serves people. At the same time, now I have a new instrument, yoga, through which to express myself and to serve others.
So at this point I would say that my highest aim has been transformed from pursing a particular career path, to pursing the truth of myself and my passions. I want to be a whole person, and not live for disparate moments where I feel connected to my true calling. I want to ultimately work towards improving the lives of others, and to have made the world a better place. The difference this time is…
I have no idea how to get there.
When I was focused on becoming a surgeon, that had a direct career path. Being a software developer has a path, but not necessarily a direct one. Depends on what you choose. Being a practicing anthropologist does not have a direct path at all. And I somehow want to meld all of these things with anything else that may seem authentic to me. With a handful of yoga on top.
All I know is that it is important for me to keep moving towards the things that feel good, and right, and enrich my life. Maybe I will still becoming a doctor one day. Maybe I will become an awesome software developer. Maybe I will make huge contributions as an anthropologist. Maybe I will do all three.
I don’t know anymore, and for the first time in my life, I am ok with that. My aim is to keep moving along this journey, and to be open to the unexpected amazement that can occur when you aren’t searching for it.