Earlier this week Hope College hosted a “Last Lecture” event on campus. The Maas Conference salon was packed with the students who were there for extra credit or a class assignment. Surprisingly there were quite a few middle-aged folks who literally nodded at everything the professor said.

“Hello, my name is Steven Hoogerwerf” *nods*

“I am a Religion professor at Hope College” *nods*

It is funny how we think grown-ups have it all together. Even for our parents, we, youngsters, often forget that they are just upgraded versions of us. The generational gap might be very deep and wide, yet in a nutshell their soul-searching is something we have in common. The difference is that they just forget. The routine swallows them in and living starts to become an auto-piloted mechanism and no one makes an effort to actually live. Then at the age of 55, these folks find themselves at Barnes & Noble’s Self-Help/Self-Improvement section… Or just go to talks like “Last Lecture”.

The talk the college hosted was really good, the emphasis was on calling and importance of being content with where we are at life. I guess everything that is going on in my life, I didn’t want to hear about calling or anything that would imply I need to fulfill my potential in life. Everyone tells me that al the time anywhere, afraid that I will waste my skills by investing the time in something that will not work out at the end. Therefore I’d like to shift your attention to the original Last Lecture, which is a book written by dying professor Randy Pausch. The book is like a giant wave of wisdom that will swallow you in. You will feel uncomfortable first but then realize there is not much to do than just surrender.

The quote that got my attention the most is this: “Look, I’m going to find a way to be happy, and I’d really love to be happy with you, but if I can’t be happy with you, then I’ll find a way to be happy without you.”

Remember how I said independence is about traveling, being able to change your tire without anyone’s help? Well, it turns out you can only do all these if you can achieve to be happy on your own; if you can simply depend your happiness on yourself and only yourself, then you can call yourself independent.

Nations are built on the idea of liberty and so are human-beings. Loneliness is often associated with depressing, tragic indie movies but it is often forgotten that state of loneliness is valuable as long as you are lonely in your own terms. Does that make sense?

Now once you are done reading this post, go to the cool coffee shop you always wanted to go to and buy yourself a cup of coffee you never thought you’d try. Be impulsive and eat a large pizza by yourself. Rent all the Godfather movies and watch them in a very dark room. Try that exotic muffin that you know you will not like. Pick up your guitar that had been dusting in a corner for a very long time.

Live. Be happy. Be free.

Published by Idil Ozer

Senior at Hope. International Studies major, Political Science minor. The Anchor, World News Co-editor. Blogger for the Odyssey and Thought Catalog. Feeds on news, politics and donuts.

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