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Tuesday, October 26, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 46

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So many goals to achieve in this life

By Normand Theriault

I'm assuming most of us have a master plan. A master plan consists of a series of goals or accomplishments we'd like to achieve within a certain amount of time.

The frame of time we allot to complete the entire plan is almost always our entire life, though most of us would probably have No. 9 (winning the lottery) or No. 10 (hitting the jackpot) come sooner rather than later.

I know that I've always had a master plan ... at least, I thought I did until about a week ago.

Over the past six to 10 years I've been drifting. My goals are changing constantly, and my attempts to move forward are mired in the sad reality of "I don't know where to start."

You see, it occurred to me this week that maybe I don't really have a single plan, but many plans that are all fighting for dominance. The fact that any major I choose will not stay put is evidence enough to confirm my suspicions.

I want to write poetry and novels, learn languages both speaking and programming, explore the philosophy of experience, delve into the intricacies of religion and get lost in the fascinating world of scientific inquiry.

I want to read everything (no matter how obscure, difficult or seemingly irrelevant), define myself in a world obsessed with popular culture and drink from the fountain of creative genius.

I know how I must sound to all of you who "know what you want" and are on the track to success. I must be romantically involved with the world. Or something that symbolizes the totality of existence, whatever that might be.

The problem with my interests, if indeed it is a problem, is they have no discernible end. Everyone out there who thinks they know what they want has probably never considered what happens after they finally have everything they want.

I can never have what I want ... and I know it, and that is why I am striving for it.

So what is it that I want? Good question. Besides wanting to know everything (which really isn't what I want -- there are some things I could care less about -- Martha Stewart's home design tips come to mind), I would like to be able to understand myself and the world.

Simple, you say? Hardly. A person and the world are in a constant state of flux. Understanding yourself may be possible, but only for a second in any given lifetime. Once that second has passed, you change and your perception changes with you.

The world is the same way. You can focus on the world and you might be able to grasp it in all its complexity, but then either it continues moving or you become distracted and clarity is lost.

I strive for moments of understanding. I strive for moments of clarity within the darkness. And in the meantime, I learn all that I can and reflect on experience so that I can express how wonderful and complete it feels to be in that state.

It is comparable to a religious experience. I think it would be fair to say that I view life as a religious experience, though I advocate no God.

Even though my time is ultimately spent in pursuit of this never-reached goal on a non-existent master plan, I am not rejecting all of those goals that can be reached. It is only through small steps that you can reach for those loftier goals.

What fills my life are the deeds, pleasures, pains, accomplishments, upsets, ends and means of an existence that can only be described as finite ... seen through the lens of infinite understanding in hopes of coming closer to peace, happiness and completion.


 
Theriault, a junior English and philosophy major,
can be reached at phdynamic@iname.com.
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