As promised, Agency and Identity
My life has been quite angsty and undecided as I have been grappling with decisions about school, career, and the ladies. The pressure of these concerns has weighed fairly heavily on my soul lately, but through it all I have come to better appreciate the significance and blessing of agency. I fully believe that all of us have been granted the gift of agency, by which I mean that each of us has the freedom to choose from a variety of options, although the breadth of available options my vary by circumstance.
Agency can be tricky, because our choices (even very small ones, in the aggregate) have very real and far-reaching consequences which are often difficult to foresee, or else require much effort to predict. For me, one of the most important things to consider about potential decisions is how the consequences will shape my personal development. I believe there is a direct link between what we choose and who we become in this life. This is not to say that we can choose our destinies according to our own whims and fancies alone and in utter disregard for the laws of God and nature; I do believe our choices exist in their own contexts (and with their own consequences), but they are freely chosen nonetheless. The thoughts we entertain, the words we speak, and the actions we perform (as well as the ones we don’t perform) all influence the course our lives take.
So there’s all the metaphysical background – the real world application is: who do I want to become, and which choices will best lead me there? The answer to the first question is much less elusive than the second. I want to become a loving and wise husband and father who can provide for his family, an informed and involved citizen, and a true Christian and Latter-day Saint. But how to get there? That’s the part I’m in the process of figuring out. Mostly, I am focused on creating a stable and happy home environment now (no small task when you’re a bachelor living with other bachelors), and entering into a course of graduate study which will open up doors of opportunity and employment in areas for which I would be well-suited and with which I could be reasonably satisfied (I think it is in the interests of my future family that, to the extent possible, I not work in a job I hate or that threatens to turn me sour and sullen). At this point, I have basically decided that my developmental goals can best be reached by pursuing (wow, this sounds like something straight out of a Stephen Covey book) a master’s of public policy with an emphasis in social policy, by trying to make my apartment into a home rather than a hovel, and by being proactive about lady-ing (without being overbearing and/or obnoxious). It’s one big work in progress, but it’s coming along.
P.S. To the casual reader, this post was probably pretty boring, but it was at least useful for me to think out loud, as it were, and perhaps will also be of some value to that future posterity I keep talking about 🙂