The other day I was having a conversation with my parents; they asked me what I found fulfillment in. “Well…” I shrugged. I didn’t have an answer to this question. Part of why I couldn’t answer this is because there’s more to the question; what even is fulfillment? Happiness? Contentedness? Conclusiveness? Firstly, by most psychological definitions, happiness is an emotion, not a long-lasting state of being. Secondly, biologically, humans are not designed to ever be fully content or satisfied. Third, the way I view fulfillment is as something being whole and complete; this would mean that once you are fulfilled, you are done with life and have nothing else to gain, so this really shouldn’t happen until the end of your life. I asked my parents what they found fulfillment in: they didn’t know either, but they said that they felt fulfilled with their lives. All of this information made me question how I should be going about life. Should we keep searching for what fulfills us? Or will that obsession make the undeniable vacancy so much more noticeable? Should we keep on living and wait to stumble across what fulfills us? Or will that idleness waste years of our lives being unhappy?
There isn’t any clear answer, and that is part of what is so scary about life: there rarely is a clear answer.
It is your journey; you just have to go with your own ideas and your own perceptions until you find something that feels right to you. If you have a slight inclination to do something, you should do it. You should take opportunities and explore. Just keep trying new things and methods until you find what fulfills you, at least find something that makes you happy. I am not currently striving for fulfillment. The way I see it, life is just the pathway until you reach fulfillment. I don’t know if anyone else heard this growing up, but in elementary school, they told us that everyone had a bucket; when the bucket was full, they were happy. When you said something kind to someone, you added water to their bucket. When you did something hurtful, you took water away. They used this as a method to explain kindness to 2nd graders, but it's how I’m choosing to imagine fulfillment. You learn new things and gain knowledge and memories throughout your life, each of them adding to your fulfillment bucket. I don’t feel fulfilled right now, I’m not content, and I’m not even sure if I’m happy. However, I am okay with that. Honestly, I’m just excited to be on my own journey.
Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote, “ - for mankind is, in the mass, without a goal.” Most people live their lives stumbling from one job to another, but it isn’t their goal; they don’t have goals. They just survive by doing what seems easy, what gets them by, what stereotypes say is right, and what they are told to do. But what if we didn’t do what was easy, or what we were told we should do? I think that for people to find fulfillment, they need to establish goals. Each time they achieve one of their goals, they’ll add some water to their bucket and be one goal closer to having done everything they needed to do.
Delaney Fehr, Rogers, 10th grade