Sunday, December 9, 2012

What is my Purpose?

What is my Purpose?   

“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” This quote by Friedrich Nietzsche explains the importance I feel my purpose has in my life. Answering the question “What is my purpose?” can also answer a lot of other questions. My purpose tells me what I’m working toward, why I’m here, and, most of all, gives me the motivation to move forward.

Without knowing my purpose I’d be extremely lost. I wouldn’t know what to go to go to school for, what career to choose, where to go next, or who I am. Fortunately, through all of my life experiences and a lot of hard decisions I’ve discovered what my purposes are. These are what drive me to do what I do each day and strive to reach my ultimate purpose, which also happens to be my ultimate passion.

I feel that the first purpose I have is a purpose that all of us in this world share: to simply be ourselves. Our lives and experiences have shaped us to be the unique individuals that we are for a reason, a purpose. Our purpose. If I lived every day trying to be someone I wasn’t meant to be I’d never fulfill my purpose and, in turn, probably never be happy. My duty is to wake up proud of who I am and what I have accomplished so far, so that in the future I can continue to fulfill my dreams and become a better version of myself.

The second purpose I believe I’ve been given to is to learn. Learning is something we all obviously have to do, but for me it has always been more than that. I’ve been given many opportunities to learn throughout my lifetime, maybe more than others. Some things can be taught, while other things must be experienced. I have done a lot of experiencing, and because of this, a lot of learning. For this I’m extremely grateful. Even now, I strive to learn more each and every day. I may not know how, but somehow, this fits into my purpose.

Now, what is my ultimate purpose? What, above all else, am I meant to achieve in my lifetime? Why am I on this earth at all? Warning: this is probably going to sound extremely cliche. My overall purpose, and ultimate passion, is to help people. I don’t know exactly when I realized this, or why, but it is most definitely true. Somewhere along my journey in life I developed a deep empathy for people and ever since I have known my ultimate purpose.

The point of having a purpose is to fulfill it, presumably for the common good. So, how do I plan to fulfill mine? This is an idea I pondered throughout my high school career. It wasn’t until recently that I finally had that “aha” moment. I’ve decided to pursue a career in mental health counseling. Having a mental health degree enables me to do many things, like drug and alcohol counseling, social work, and many types of volunteer work to help others get their lives back on track. I plan to double major in psychology and sociology, which correlates with one of my other purposes: to learn.

    These are some of the purposes I’ve been given in life. In the future I will have more, and I will do my best to fulfill those to the best of my ability as well. It’s comforting to know that no matter what, I will always have a purpose. I will always have something to work toward and something that makes me feel useful. Because I have a why to live, I will bear any how.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Where Am I?

Where Am I?

Where I’m from
I am from dirt roads,
From callused feet and summertime.
From my grass stained jeans and tendency to roam free.
From my love of late nights and campfires shared,
And dance floors made from plywood in the middle of the street.
I’m from cherry trees and kool-aid stands,
From the costumes I wore when we played pretend.
From the smell of cinnamon and the clamper of feet, and the hourly chime of church bells.
I’m from bad times, and good times, and those peaceful times where nothing has to be said at all.
I’m from mid-day naps and conversations that last long into the night,
From harmonious laughter and cold coffee.

    Where I am now has changed a bit from where I came from. I’m a thousand places at once, and these places could change at any moment. Where I am is more than my literal location: it is my place in the world, the stage I’m at in my life, and where I am emotionally. These things aren’t always easy to gauge, but I suppose that’s what self discovery is all about.

    Where am I? I could take this question from a literal standpoint. As of now, I’m in an office chair, at a desk, in my home, in Phillips, Nebraska. Sometimes I’m in Aurora, where I go to school and work. Other times I’m in Grand Island, where the rest of my family lives. You may find this information pointless and unnecessary, but where I am literally is something that strongly shapes the other parts of where I am.

    How about, where am I in my life? I’m at a stage I feel is crucial to the rest of my journey. Where I am now in this sense is going to greatly affect the answer I have to the question “where am I?” in the future. I am less than a month away from graduating high school and about six months away from my college career. I’m at a beginning and an end at the same time. On one hand I’m beginning life on my own, college, something completely new. On the other, I’m ending 13 years of education at Aurora Public Schools and moving away from my hometown of Phillips.

    At this point in my life I am at a fork in the road. One fork leads to another fork, and that one to another, and another. The choices I make now are the ones that will shape my whole life, and the path I choose will do the same. I am at a time that I will look back on in the future and either praise myself for, or regret.

    In addition to describing where I am as a stage in life, I could also answer the question with where I am in my emotional and intellectual growth. If I had to, I would guess that most high schoolers wouldn’t say that they feel they are completely prepared be out on their own. I, however, do feel that in my 18 years I have grown enough intellectually and emotionally to begin a life of my own. I may not know everything, but I have not only the academic, but the emotional intelligence to survive without the support I’ve received in my home throughout my life.

    A question like “Where am I?” seems easy enough to answer at first, but after some thought I’ve found maybe I don’t know exactly where I am, or even where I’m on my way to (which is probably equally, if not more, important). If anything, though, it’s gotten the wheels in my mind turning and given me some insight into the possibilities of where I could be very, very soon.

Where am I?
I am a thousand places at once,
a passenger on an airplane that never lands.
I am at home, and I am on the way out.
I am standing in the entryway taking one last reminiscent look at the scene behind me.
I am at a beginning and an end, at the base of the highest mountain,
at the edge of the deepest trench.
I am at a fork in the road. If I keep walking I will encounter another, and another,
and another.

I am in love, and in hopefulness, and happiness.

My School
My State

My Home

My Community

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Who Am I?

I am “Messy Jessi,” “Really, Jessi?,” and “Jessica Lynn Vorhees!”
I am poetic, and Pisces, and improbably powerful.
I am the Hoover Dam, or the Statue of Liberty,
but also an old teacup, balanced over the edge of the table.
I’m the writer, the romantic, the optimist, the control-freak,
the inventor, the thinker, and the coffee-lover.
I am your best friend, harshest critic, and biggest supporter.
I’m the philosopher,the questioner, the one tugging at your shirt sleeves for answers.
I am careful and I am determined.
I am Me, and Me is unique.

Describing who you are is never easy. It seems to me that every day I learn something new about myself. But still there are concrete parts of myself I have developed throughout the years that I believe will forever remain central to who I am. These range from simple personality traits, to my morals and beliefs, to the people I’ve chosen to include in my life.

My personality isn’t always exactly simple to understand. Some may even call it complicated. I’m full of contradictions, but somehow it all makes sense. A handful of words I’d use to describe myself are caring, sarcastic, thoughtful, creative, independent, determined, worrisome, and hopeful. In this list I would also include the word careful. Anyone close to me would agree that sometimes I’m a little over prepared and maybe go so far as to say I’m slightly obsessive-compulsive. Though some may criticize, this over-preparedness is my safety net, my security blanket, and my sense of control. It’s something about my personality I’ve learned to accept and even see as a strength at times.

The carefulness I exercise in my life is closely related to the determination I have to achieve the sometimes difficult goals I set for myself. I think of myself as a passionate person and I’m very dedicated to making every dream I have for success come true. I would call this one of the most important parts of who I am because it’s what decides my future and the path I ultimately take to get there. One of the goals I am passionate about achieving in the future is redefining others’ perspectives. Changing the way people see certain situations for the better would be extremely rewarding. I want to do this in my career as a counselor or social worker and make a difference by redefining how people think, judge, and make choices in their lives.

Over the years I have also developed morals and beliefs that I hold strong to. One of the most major of these is honesty. This, by far, is the most important thing I look for in the people I let into my life. I have always been an honest person and I cannot understand any reason not to be. “Mind” and “intelligence” are also things I put value in. I never pass up the chance to learn something new. I like pushing myself to think about complex things, like philosophy and human behavior, and to solve problems in new and creative ways. Mostly, though, I ponder why things are the way they are. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned over the years is that positivity pays off. Every day I try to implement this and move forward no matter what the day decides to hand to me. I will admit this isn’t always easy, but positivity is something I work very hard to achieve.

   All of these things combined make up who I am and who I hope to be in the near future. Though I may change over time, these central parts of me will always remain the same. I am proud of who I have grown to be (so far) and look to the future with faith in the idea that I will develop into a better person, continuing on as unique as ever.