So that’s what that feels like…..

Forgive me, teens of the world, but as May 19th approaches sooner and sooner, I and every other senior in high schools across the world have become fixated on one day alone: graduation. With a little more than 6 weeks left and the bulk of my activities coming to a close, I cannot help to wonder: What am I going to miss? How much have I changed? Do I have any regrets?

The most daunting of questions on my mind, however, is the simplest: Have I had a fulfilling high school experience?

At this point, I begin to feel old. For this question is not just asked at the end of high school. The same question applies to the other senior, the one who has faced far more than our comparatively juvenile lives. For in our elder years, we also ask that same question, and hope we have the same answer. At the end of any great journey, be it of high school or of this physical stage of life, the necessity of optimizing that journey becomes of chief concern. We ask whether we had a fulfilling life. Did we, or did we not?

So when dealing with that experience – the experience of fulfillment – we often are led to second, third, and quadruple-guess ourselves. Fulfillment seems to be such an elusive concept; it is something that is supposed to happen naturally, yet seems to require a lot of effort to be achieved. Fulfillment also seems to be very paradoxical; it appears to only be felt after the experience, yet requires us to be living in every moment to be reached.

The very dictionary meaning of fulfillment is abstract enough, as it is listed by Merriam-Webster to mean “to execute, realize, and satisfy.”  Is fulfillment really just some intangible ideal beyond our recognition or attainment? To answer that, fulfillment is defined by its spiritual definition. In a broader perspective, fulfillment simply means “to realize one’s potential.” To many, realizing one’s potential means they have done something worthwhile with their time in this life. With the majority, we are led to wonder whether we did change the world, make a difference, or even just make the world a better place overall.

The problem with fulfillment does not come from understanding it, but rather our judgment of it. Potential – our ability to be the very best version of ourselves – is something that does not have universal standards. We are all unique spiritual beings, with different purposes that aren’t even entirely known to us. Our soul desires to experience the full range of life, of loss, of love, so it may know itself. What our soul wishes to accomplish in this life cannot be quantitatively judged on a scale of 1 to 10. What one might call a complete failure may be success to another, all depending on the perspective of our soul.  The nature of our soul is simply too intricate and complex to be considered so artificially.

Further, fulfillment of potential is not just something that happens retrospectively.  We don’t need to wait until we are old – in mind and body – for us to recognize our fulfillment. We can experience it in this very moment. And this one. And this one. With any spiritual experience, the fulfillment of our potential truly does not happen after the fact, but is happening NOW. Fulfillment is living in the moment – being in tune with our spiritual purpose at all times. When we look backwards, we fear the feeling of regret. If we simply BE the greatest vision of the grandest version of ourselves, then there is nothing else we have to do. Though we may feel the regret that it wasn’t enough, it is exactly where we are at the part of the journey – right where our soul leads us. Within the spiritual journey, there is no right or wrong, there is only the way our spirit takes.

So that’s what that feels like. At any age, we worry and wonder about our fulfillment. If its high school or life itself, all we need to do is just let our soul do the work, and let ourselves follow. By living life from the highest point, there is nothing that goes unseen or undone. And it feels wonderful.

(Lauren is a Feature Editor of The Global Conversation. She lives in Wood Dale, IL, and can be reached at

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