Advanced Essay #1: Living a Meaningful Life

​My goals while writing this essay was to convey my desire to do something amazing and my wish to change the world. I also wanted to explain my opinion on the need to leave behind a legacy. I think the beginning of my essay with the memory of the Colosseum was done well. I also think I did a good job of wrapping up my ideas and my essay in the conclusion. I wish I had used more personal memories and scenes of memories. I wish I could add more about how the larger ideas connected to myself.

I looked in excitement all around me as I walked through the Colosseum. After waiting outside in the sun for what seemed like forever being able to finally see the inside of this magnificent structure and touch its ancient stone walls was exhilarating. I knew that thousands of years ago this arena was standing almost exactly like it was standing today, except much newer and less crumbly, but it was almost impossible to truly believe. I imagined that maybe once when there still were Roman events in this colosseum a girl my age stood right where I stood, touched the same spots that I touched, and marveled at this incredible creation. Knowing that this building had been in contact with so many millions of lives before mine and probably millions of lives after mine made me feel amazed but at the same time a little overwhelmed. Seeing something thousands of years old is thrilling and disheartening. You feel wonder and excitement at seeing something so ancient, so important, and so magnificent but at the same time you feel saddened at the thought that although people remember the name of this thing that is thousands of years old, in less that two hundred years it is very likely no one will remember your name.

During my travels I have seen many things that will be remembered for hundreds, thousands of years to come; including the Mona Lisa, the Sistine Chapel, the Eiffel Tower and the David. All of these things will forever ensure that people recognize the names of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Alexandre Gustave Eiffel. Not only will their names be remembered and revered but their work will impact people for thousands of years; their work will amaze people for thousands of years. Maybe sometime in the future their names will be forgotten but if the people of the future ever come across the beautiful things these people left behind they will know that they have discovered not just something beautiful and aesthetically pleasing but also something meaningful. Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Alexandre Eiffel all did something that impacted the entire world. They did things that mattered.

Almost my entire life I’ve wanted to do something that mattered. Not something that just matters to me or just me but something that affects the entire world or nearly the entire world. I want to do something that ensures my name and actions are remembered for thousands of years or at least the next hundred years. When you’re young it’s easy to have big goals and boundless ambition. It’s easy to delude yourself into thinking that you could be someone who changes the world. The reality is that most people go through their entire lives without ever doing something special or unique. After thousands of years it’s hard for someone to think of an original, unique thought and it’s hard to be someone who hasn’t already existed before. Most things worth saying have already been said and most ideas worth thinking of have already been thought of. So, it becomes increasingly difficult for one to do something that is new and important, much less change the world forever. Most people live ordinary lives doing the same jobs that others have done millions of times before and having the same conversations others have had thousands of times before. Sometimes we like to pretend that we are all unique and different but we are lying to ourselves. Most likely there have been others almost exactly like us in the past or maybe in the present. This just makes me want to do something amazing and unforgettable even more. It’s hard to do something original and important but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying. We should never stop helping others and we should never stop trying to do what we love because that is how we can change the world and make an impact.

Sometimes I feel like it’s silly to want to do something more than the ordinary. Sometimes I feel guilty for not being satisfied with my life. I wonder if I should just be happy with what I have instead of constantly wishing for and wanting more. But then I realize that if people were always just satisfied with what they already had the world wouldn’t get anywhere. If Leonardo da Vinci had just been satisfied with a simple life instead of an ambitious life where he got to do what he loved the world would be much different today. Ambition and goals are essential not only to the advancement of ourselves but also to the advancement of the world. So I will never give up on trying to do something special because that is the only way the world will get better. Not only is ambition and the desire to leave behind a legacy essential to the advancement of the world but necessary for people need to feel happy. Working to leave a legacy gives us a sense of meaning and purpose which is something urgently need. We have spent thousands of years trying to find a reason for our existence and find validation for ourselves. We have religions and different beliefs that we have created in an attempt to find meaning but it is not enough. That is why we desperately want to leave behind a legacy and be admired by those who will come after us, to validate ourselves and our existence and to find a purpose in a meaningless and purposeless universe.