There comes a time in people’s lives when they reflect on lost opportunities, forgotten childhood dreams and what truly makes them happy.

Most die before this happens.

As the school year dwindles down, however, existential crises are on the rise. Life choices are being called into question. Intended majors are falling under intense scrutiny. All over campus, students are asking themselves if they actually want to graduate with a degree in Choral Music Education.

You might feel a little overwhelmed. Maybe you don’t even have a major in mind. Maybe that “Undecided” T-shirt you bought as a joke to make your parents laugh is still in your closet, only now they’re not laughing anymore. But your friends are. Only they’re not your friends — they’re weird voices inside your head.

I might be of help. The answer — like most answers — lies in list making. List making is a process that condenses incredibly complex issues into simple, manageable steps. The entire American way of life — the Declaration of Independence, weight loss, etc. — relies on making lists with specific resolutions in mind.

If you’re worried about choosing the wrong career and leading an existence of utter boredom, it might be beneficial to make a “life list” of all the amazing goals you would like to accomplish before you die and are forgotten about forever. A good plan is to start with modest goals and then increase in complexity, assuming future technology improves.

Here is a brief example of one of my lists to get your ideas going:

1. Buy more toothpaste (with fluoride).

2. Box out weird guy with beard during next pick-up game. He is short but quick.

3. Grow beard.

4. Start to read the news and hold opinions.

5. Join the Squirrel Club.

It’s always a good idea to have your first few goals be relatively frivolous and/or unambitious. Thus, if you don’t accomplish them you’ll know you’re not really cut out for this sort of thing. Subsequent goals should start to become more difficult.

6. Pass Calculus II at a community college.

7. Run for president of the Squirrel Club.

8. Print lots of little colored pieces of paper with nothing on them and pass them out on the Diag. See if anyone notices the difference.

9. Abolish something.

10. Teach my friend from Ohio how to operate indoor plumbing.*

*I recommend placing a star by any goal that you feel is especially challenging. After ten or so goals, you have to start predicting what your life will be like in the future so you can continue to be spontaneous. Odds are after ten goals and about ten years you’ll be stuck in a boring job, so mix it up a little.

To continue…

11. Sell the house, car and kids and get a boat! Sail the world.

12. Do not sail the world near Somalia.

13. Better just get a personalized license plate instead.

14. Start drinking wine. Learn how to swish it around and smell it without looking silly.

15. Run for the president of my kids’ school board, then dismantle it because school boards are plain annoying.

At this point in your life list, anywhere from fifteen to thirty years may have passed. Amazing, I know! Under no circumstances are you required to continue – you may find that fifteen to twenty goals is enough. However, by the period 2025 to 2040, impressive technology may emerge. Feel free to get creative. Here are my ideas:

16. Own some sort of futuristic device that includes a phone, camera, e-mail, calculator and girlfriend.

17. Clone it.

18. Contact extraterrestrial civilizations to see if they have any extra oil to spare.

My list goes on, but the general idea should be apparent by now. It’s important to remind yourself of what matters — to think critically about your goals before it’s too late, even if you are majoring in Ceramics. So make your list. And good luck.

Will Grundler can be reached at sailgull@umich.edu.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.