The Gustavian Weekly

Food for thought

By Andy Bryan Staff Columnist | May 3, 2013 | Opinion

You are what you do, and from the looks of it you’re a builder of giant puzzles. What does this say about you? <em>Andy Bryan</em>

You are what you do, and from the looks of it you’re a builder of giant puzzles. What does this say about you? Andy Bryan

Where to next?

Andy_BryanIt is the end of the school year once again and the warm-winded, sunny weather of the ideal Minnesota summer day has broken through this overlong winter just in time to accompany the final torrents of this semester’s schoolwork. Despite the inviting shouts of joy that have started to echo over long-neglected fields, it is not yet time to join in.

For many of us, this is the season of daydreaming, of wistfully losing track of our work and letting our imaginations carry us out of our windows, into the sun and off onto our own escapist adventures.

Anytime we find ourselves beset by adversity, it is difficult not to imagine escaping the situation entirely. But where would we be without adversity? Or rather, who would we be if not for the time spent in adverse situations?

When you start to look closely at the difference between the “who” in each of us and our respective “wheres,” you’ll notice the distinction become murky. Let me expand on this a little.

We are all Gusties, in some form or other, because of where we’ve lived the last year or several years of our lives. At first that title may seem like little more than a sign of where we are, but we all know that it carries a little more personal meaning than that.

Titles like this one also carry implications as to the shape our character. If we are Gusties, then we must behave and think in a certain way. Is this just an unfair stereotype? Well yes, in that it is very general and vague, but there is a very valuable lesson in realizing the closely interconnected nature of our identities and environments.

Each day we grow a little. Each day we learn something, or reinforce something we already know. We grow physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually every day, even if just a tiny bit, and the factors that challenge us to grow, the ideas that we encounter and learn from, come from our environment. To an extent, who we are is defined by where we are.

This idea becomes especially significant when one finds themselves at a junction in life, deciding where to go to next. For many of us the arrival of summer means only a seasonal decision, but for some of us, we are taking our next big step. Everyone should consider, though, that this is a decision not only of where we would like to take our current selves, but who we would like to make ourselves into next.

There is an essential someone inside of us all, some basic shape of a personality which retains its integrity as we travel from one stage of life to the next, but this person can only live by moving the things around them. We exist in relief of our surroundings and this notion should not only be a means of informing the direction of the journey of our lives, but also a strong drive to have an impact on our surroundings.

As I move on, I intend to focus my energy, professional and otherwise, on impacting the society that I live in, for this reason and many others. I optimistically hope you do to. People are only as good as the world allows and tells them to be. It is up to our generation, the next wave of mature minds in this world, to raise that bar.

Believe neither in the worst in people, nor in the best; both of these are standards set by rules that we didn’t write. Believe in potential; that’s what will count when we start re-writing them.