What do you need from this life?

“What do you need from this life?”

I was reading Carter Beats the Devil when I read this line. My breath caught. It was the question I didn’t know that I’d been waiting to be asked.

My life is a blank page right now, and I’m trying to figure out my next steps. Having a blank canvas and deciding what to make on it is every bit as daunting as generations of creators have time and time again pointed out.

Not for a lack of ideas: There’s a LOT I want to do. I would like to spend two weeks in a Mars colony simulation, like Kellie Gerardi just was. I want to travel to the furthest ends of the earth and make things. From studying the neuroscience of illusion to live action role-play game design to the human rights of architecture and even beyond, I have an endlessly growing list of people, studios, companies, fields, and ideas that interest me.

Compile those with the experiences and skills I already have, that’s a lot of options to pick between. There’s not enough room in one lifetime to do everything I want–though I realize this voracious curiosity is a great problem to have.

But there, staring back at me from the page, was the most obvious thing. Not what do I want, but what do I need? 

I need to make things. Good things. With great people. I need challenge and reward. Challenge and failure. I need to be close to people, and have the ability to tell them the scariest, hardest things, and for them to feel comfortable telling me the same. And to celebrate the happiest things. I need to see as much of this beautiful planet as I can. If it becomes possible for me to temporarily leave this planet, I need that more than anything. Permanently? Maybe one day. I need to share the universe’s beauty with other people. I need to see that empathy and love exist. I need clever humor and bad puns and brilliant laughter. I need good food. Star gazing. Books and music and art. I need to be places where I can ask “why,” and feel it is okay to challenge the status quo. To innovate. To not just do things because that’s how they’ve always been done.

That’s a lot, I realize. But, suddenly, that’s infinitely more attainable. Almost any route I take in life will be guaranteed to bring me some of these, and if I work hard and strive my hardest, maybe even most of these.

It’s beginning to feel like I have a plan. The world’s most abstract, least-organized plan (particularly for someone who enjoys color-coded schedules), but, still, a plan. I am searching out what I need.

So… What do you need from this life?