Let’s Talk of Lofty Aspirations

What you aspired to be when you were a child, has it changed? – Sarai

No—it hasn’t changed.

As a child, I aspired to learn, to improve. I never hoped to establish a career in any particular vocation. People, of course, asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And sometimes my aspiration to improve my environment and myself manifested itself in words like “(aerospace) engineer” or “lawyer.” But becoming an engineer was never the point. Improving was.

I am still a near-to-bursting bundle of ambition. I want to do this, and that, and that, and that too … and I want to do it better. I still love languages, history, mathematics, music, helping others, &c. I still frustrate and berate myself for not working hard enough, for not knowing enough about what I love.

My core is very much the same, but details have changed. For instance, when I was a toddler, I liked violins. As a child, I liked (shiny new) violins. As a teen, I fell in love with (old) violins and fantasized about playing the instrument well. I still fantasize about playing the violin well. Now, though, I don’t practice. I also don’t go to museums and stare at Stradivarius violins. In the future, I’ll probably still love the violin. There may even come a time when I practice for several hours everyday. I probably won’t practice with a shiny new violin crafted for elementary students or one of those Balestrieri violins that I drooled over as a teen. However, if my fortune is of extraordinary proportions, then just maybe I can play one of Samuel Zygmuntowicz’s violins. (oh, the ambition is ridiculous. XD)

Violin isn’t the point, though. What I really love is music. I may never play the violin again, but the idea of never playing anything again is too much.

When it comes to aspirations, an unfortunate thing is that they tend to stem from discontent. Aspiring to improve and to learn is particularly disastrous as the amount of things that can be learned and improved upon is infinite or thereabouts. And even though it’s already infinite, it’s somehow infinitely worse when huge areas of things are beloved—I love languages, history, mathematics, music, &c! There’s so much to learn—I think that I will always be slightly dissatisfied.

Anyway, I am realistic, kind of. I love music, but I don’t aspire to play every instrument. I love languages and words and writing and etymology…, but I don’t wish to learn every language. Now, I’m only trying to learn one. Sadly, though, progress is slow. I get frustrated because I want to improve quickly, because I want to do other things, because the quality of my work isn’t good enough, &c. Sometimes, the frustration takes away my words and causes me to partake in emoticons and keyboard barf.


But!—Progress is progress. At this rate, I think that I will, eventually, become bilingual, just not soon, but I will get there. And even though the false “Oh, your Korean is so good! ^^” compliments are still forthcoming, every once in a while, there’s “Oh, you’re Korean, sorry. I thought you were foreign.” That’s new. That’s better. It’s a sign of improvement, but my Korean still sucks.

As a child, I aspired to learn a foreign language. Then, it was French. Somehow my aim shifted to Korean. Details, details. Now, French must wait, but the refrain with languages and music and pretty much everything else is the same.

“I still suck. I should work harder. This is unacceptable.”

I’ve been writing sentences similar to those above since I could write. My journals, diaries, and blogs have such sprinkled throughout them in a well-documented trail of overwhelming ambition.

Honestly, I haven’t quite figured this one out. If I always write that I should work harder, then I must never actually be working harder? Perhaps, that’s the case, but “work harder” seems to mean the following.

Hurry up! You have other aspirations. [There are violins and there’s French to get back to.]

Patience isn’t really one of my strong points.
Regardless, I learn and improve.

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  • Reply Vera April 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    I think this is one those really hard goals, and quite an admirable one at that. Maaaan… you would’ve fit right into my high school class with that clique of small elite “abstract thinking people”.

    I’ve never really thought about how good of a professional I’d be, just sort of assumed that when I got there… I’d be this really indispensable member of society. Frankly, I admire you for having the ability to become more than one thing. Such a feat would be such a nice thing for my inevitable whimsies of boredom. Ah well… I’ll just have to make do with hobbies. 😛

    As for the compliment with Korean: yay! Those I one of the best compliments. I get them sometimes when I tell people that my mother tongue is Hungarian (while saying all this in Romanian). I LOVE when they go all admiring “oh, but you don’t have an accent!”.
    I’m going to assume here that English and Korean do NOT resemble each-other at all. So if a native Korean tells you that you sound Korean… well you MUST be doing something right. :)

  • Reply Amanda April 5, 2012 at 10:11 am

    You’re very ambitious. I would say not to be so hard on yourself, but I don’t think you would. It seems to be in your nature to drive for perfection. If you are happy and it’s working for you, why not try? If you’re only stressing yourself out, maybe take time to yourself to relax once in a while. :) Life is no fun if we try to rush through it all.

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