Michael He

April 1, 2022

Invite The Future Today

I'm on a countdown.

Six weeks from now, I will finish college and move on to the next stage of life. I barely feel time's passage. There seems to be so much more I could have done during the last four years, but I know that sentiment will exist whether COVID happened or not.

Instead of looking at the past, I want to see the future. I am writing to invite my future today.

Life after graduation appears scary, but it is also an exciting time.

It is an exciting time because in many ways, I am more than ready to leave college. I am at a point where more studying will surely not be the best use of my time. Things I want to study are not challenging enough and the reverse is also true (say, quantum mechanics). The act of leaving itself is exciting, just like how I waited for the last bell in high school so eagerly even if I didn't have anything fun to do after school.

A blank canvas may not hold a masterpiece, but at least it’s blank.

I am also excited for my friends and peers. Most people my age are just starting their life as independent adults, some living away from their parents. Even if you live in the same city as your family, sleeping at a different address changes something fundamental about life. Now I can finally talk about that experience (which I've had for ten years) with friends who gain this fresh perspective.

Let’s complain about filing taxes, over-prices cocktails, and people who don’t pick up their pets’ poop in public.

But most importantly, I am excited for what is to come.

No matter where I live, what I do, and who I work with (fingers crossed on all three), there will be a lot to learn. I've always treated life as a journey, so the process always matters more than the outcome at the end of the day. It is a great thing to wake up each morning and know something good will happen, even if that excitement may grow duller over time (though I don't think it's inevitable). 

We often associate passion with youth and responsibility (and persistence) with the more mature, but they are not dichotomous by definition. I'd like to have both, the difference being how much passion versus persistence one has at any given point. That is part of being a responsible and contributing member to society - your passion may not sustain at a high level, so your responsibility takes over. 

At the same time, work is not everything. Life exists beyond the hours getting paid and it's rather awesome. One thing I've decided for quite some time is to do the same good things no matter where I work and what I do for a living. If I know what makes me happy, healthy, and hearty, I just need to keep doing that.

This means I will spend a good chunk of time on reading, writing, listening to music, eating good food, exercising, and being with friends and family. Those are tried and true ways to bring me happiness and meaning. It also means I will spend some time to try new things just for the sake of it - music, food, places, activities, you name it. That is something I’ve learned and re-learned over the years. 

More importantly, there are still plenty of things I want to do in the future unrelated to career goals or all that responsible adult talk. I want to get a lot better at tennis. I want to excel at ballroom dancing and dance Latin and hip-hop relatively okay. I want to go deeper on piano and build a repertoire of Chopin, Bach, Mozart, et al. I want to study Korean and Japanese all the more. Heck, there are even crazier things to consider. I want to pick up my old accordion again, go to places like France and Argentina and learn bal-musette and tango music for real. I want to live in Japan, Korea, Scotland, and Portugal for longer than a few weeks, so on and so forth.

So here I am, inviting my future to come to me today, for I am ready to take the plunge and go at it today, tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow. Together with people around me and those who I will meet, under one dream.

Thanks to Pastor Mongens Yu, Pastor Nick Melazzo, Ruby Chan, and my mother for our conversations on my future and what I ought to do.