As an avid fan of Asian fusion restaurants, throughout my life I’ve amassed quite a few fortunes from my delicious and suspiciously orange desserts. Traditionally, I’ll read them and either say “oh that’s nice” or “that’s not a fortune, it’s just a statement”, but recently I’ve gotten three particularly good, or maybe just timely, fortunes that have found their way into the back of my phone case. I wanted to share these fortunes with you and the reason why they’re actually going to help me into a very unchartered territory of my junior year of college.
“Set high goals.”
Now obviously, this is just normal good advice, but the reason why this struck a chord with me was initially not very positive.
I am a perennial over-achiever. I do not know how to say no. I am very bad at turning down opportunities that I may not really have time for, and it’s partially because I want to do everything and partially because I want to make others happy.
In a lot of ways, my desire to do more has helped me, allowing me to meet people, go places, and have experiences I never would have imagined. But in other ways, it has hurt me by making me feel overwhelmed, or like I’ve fallen short, or like I’m always having to compete for something.
So with that, this fortune felt a little harmful as I know I set high goals for myself in everything I do. But then, after a minute, it sunk in that I do set high goals for myself, and that’s something I should be proud of and celebrate even if I don’t always achieve those goals.
So yes, set high goals but also celebrate yourself for having the courage to reach higher and do better, even if you don’t end up reaching your initial expectation.
“Life always gets harder near the summit.”
This fortune was just extremely timely. I cracked this fortune open the week before classes started as we were having our “Howdy” or welcome week for students, which drew much more crowds than normal given how the event hasn’t happened since 2019.
That week, there were a lot of feelings of excitement and reunion with the campus community, but for me, there was also a lot of anxiety and sensory overload because of campus being full of people, sights, sounds, all with the icing of COVID-19 on top.
Along with that overachiever trait I have, I was also trying to help my on-campus jobs and organizations get prepped for the semester and beginning to recruit new employees and members, and I felt exhausted and disappointed with myself for having an energy limit and not being able to spend much time with my friends in non-organized settings.
Though I don’t want to promote grind culture, or the idea that you have to be suffering a little bit to be succeeding, this was a good reminder that this particular sense of overload I was feeling was very much temporary. School was starting soon, and I would be able to fall into a routine in which I wasn’t having late nights every night, or constantly having to message people, or be making materials for multiple organization recruitments.
Though I don’t anticipate (nor want) my second week of classes in my junior year to be my life’s peak, it was a well-needed reminder that I have been working really hard, and I will soon be in a space where I can stop, take a moment, and enjoy the view.
“If we are all worms, try to be a glow worm.”
This is an actual fortune cookie I have received. I do not know what the author intended with this, but my first reaction was to laugh.
Being an English major though, it didn’t take long for me to begin analyzing the small paper strip and attempting to extract a meaning.
With the word “worm” there are some feelings of negativity, of being small, or squirmy, or living underground, but actually worms are pretty awesome. Worms live their life, mind their business, and love to party when it rains outside.
But with this idea of worms, and everyone being a worm, it’s also a reminder that we are all kind of small. We do have an impact, but there’s also seven billion people on this earth, and sometimes we need to have that perspective to help remind us that our shortcomings are often not world-ending. But when it comes to a glow worm, even something small can be beautiful, unique, and stand out.
The message then becomes more clear, if we are going to be just small parts of what happens on this Earth, we may as well do it in our own way, on our own terms, and shine as brightly as we please. Though we may all be worms, we can all bring our own unique glow to those around us.