Inspired by Ethics by Aristotle.
It still hasn’t hit that I’m about to start my final semester here at Penn State. And the crazy thing is that there is still an unsettled feeling about the next step. But do we ever feel completely comfortable about what life brings next? Going from middle school to high school. The transition to college. Taking on a first full-time job. Switching jobs or moving. Marrying and having kids. I haven’t personally gone through all of these, but I believe I can say that at each turn in life, there are questions to be answered, doors to be opened, and big decisions to be made.
And as I look back, these past four years are culminating with this next step in life; leaving the “bubble” that is State College, to go into the “real world”. All of the classwork, internships, and research has been directed toward this next step. Upon reflection, I can say that my life these past several years has primarily revolved around this pursuit of a career I desire. But how much of my life should revolve around this? What am I striving for? And should I go through life simply taking it year by year with the end goal being the desired next step?
It’s officially 2013. And many take time at the beginning of each year to make resolutions or changes to themselves to make a stride toward a better future. But how deep are they typically? Usually they rarely get past the level of “I plan to remove Twinkies from diet” or “I plan to run a half marathon this year as a goal for getting in shape”. My point is not to diminish the importance of these changes but to suggest there are potential changes with very great importance.
Have you ever sat back and thought about what it was you were working towards in life? What would make you life complete? What would make your life worthwhile? Is it happiness? Is it success? Money? A relationship? A nice house?
Why does the pursuit of this deserve the investment of your life?
The Chief Good; an idea proposed by Aristotle, is the focal point of all of our effort, energy, time, and resources. That our entire lives revolve around this one thing that we are striving for. The Chief Good has to be the root of our pursuit. Therefore “happiness” cannot be a Chief Good because it relies on something(s) to provide happiness. The Chief Good is not vague but very specific.
Personally, I believe my Chief Good has been security. Risk rarely could be justified in my life, and taking chances was never something I was comfortable with. I wanted a job that would produce financial stability so that I wouldn’t have to worry about my level of comfort. I didn’t want to have to worry or be reliant on anyone else. Simply put, I wanted a smooth-sailing life. During these past couple years, I realized just how self-centered that was and that that’s not how life is meant to be lived.
And I’m making a conscious effort to try to change it. After much thought and reflection, I personally could find only one Chief Good in life that was a clear direction for me, and would provide pure completeness. I’ve realized that God is the center of everything and that I want to glorify Him in response to the the mercy He’s demonstrated for me. And other chapters of life fit into this greater storyline. At the end of my life, “completeness” will come from investing myself in ways that aligns with God’s plan for this earth and my life.
So what’s your Chief Good? What resolution have you made or are you going to make in 2013 and the rest of your years beyond? In the rush of life, sometimes a step back to see where we are going is needed. I hope you find that break early this year. Happy New Year everyone! I wish you all a very fulfilling 2013.