"Well, we're in the desert, looking for the source of a river pollutant, using as our map a cave drawing of a Civil War gunship, which is also in the desert. So I was just wondering when we're gonna have to sit down and re-evaluate our decision-making paradigm?"
The quote is from the character Al the film Sahara. When I first watched the movie I was 15 or 16 and the line stood out to me because I thought it was funny. If I could've only known then that there would be quite a number of times in the future when I could apply it just about as aptly to my own life.
Like the heroes in the movie, it's not infrequent that I find myself pursuing seemingly unobtainable desires through haphazard or even irrational strategies. Whether in my education, my dating life or my career; the last few years of my life have been an adventure. Some parts of it might almost give the film a run for its money.
Sitting down right now and "re-evaluating [my] decision-making paradigm," I have to ask myself some hard questions (if I may burden you with some details).
In the amount of time I spent studying for and taking the FSOT, the LSAT, the ASTB etc, I could've probably filled out applications for about 1,927 jobs/grad programs that I was more likely to get. Why didn't I?
In the amount of hours of Arabic instruction I've had, I could've probably been at least respectably conversational in––say––Portuguese. Why didn't I study Portuguese?
I'm currently living in a place that, while friendly enough, I know by now will never really accept me, no matter what I do. Why here?
So, like Sahara, it's been an adventure.
Unlike the heroes in the movie, though, I have yet to find my Civil War gunship in a desert and corresponding river pollutant source––if I may use such an unwieldy metaphor.
Like most people, I try to pursue the things I desire to do and the things I feel are right to do. Unfortunately, it seems for me that those things are almost always unobtainable things. And, whether for lack of aptitude, focus or some moral flaw, I tend to go about pursuing them in rather irrational ways.
Again, it is an adventure. One that may look kind of exciting from far away. The reality is, though, there have been many, many times I wished I could be the guy who wanted to do something he was actually good at, was good at something society presently needs enough to make a living doing it, fell in love the first time with a girl who loved him back.... etc.
Maybe my desires themselves are the problem. It may be deep down I'm a romantic with pretentious visions of grandeur that are not only impossible but also ridiculous. Maybe I just need to learn to settle for things someone with my IQ, my body, my family connections should actually hope to accomplish.
Or could it be that, for now at least, I'm supposed to be finding fulfillment in the adventure itself? I kind of like that idea, but it's hard in practice.
And what if the adventure of pursuing unobtainable goals becomes/has become the thing I desire more than the actual goals themselves? That's one that really bothers me.
As usual, I have no answers for Al. Only the reality we're in the desert, looking for the source of a river pollutant, using as our map a cave drawing of a Civil War gunship, which is also in the desert.
Will we actually find it? Maybe someday.