I looked at myself in the mirror of my friend’s apartment, listening to the pulsating beat of “Pretty Girl” playing at the darty happening next door — an event so far reach I probably have a better shot going to Neverland. I’m not particularly bothered by my lack of access; I have come to terms with the structural limitations I have been presented with in my life. But lying in bed listening to the oohs and aahs cycling in the crowd outside invites to reflect on my other limitations. While there are so many aspects of life I have the privilege to change, it is those very aspects that bother me the most.

The sensation of moving into my new college apartment, to me, is one of emptiness. I can move boxes to fill the vacancy of my bare bedroom, but I can never quite fill the sensation of loss that accompanies coming back to school. I feel as if the gleaming part of my personality has aged into a dusty, unpolished museum artifact. The personality I have cultivated over the summer slowly hibernates once again when the leaves turn red and brown. I realize that I am, to put it simply, boring, unlike my peers with their developed opinions orbiting strong personalities. I do not have such capabilities. I suspect that I will never have such capabilities. Because, in the end, I’m still myself.

I refer to myself with a negative connotation.

I wonder if I am being fatalist. I wonder if my sentiments are considered to be unrealistic or perhaps despondent. I wonder if I should continue holding the same standards for myself when I could perhaps abandon them for some solace. Because, only when I have arrived at school, do I realize that I am not enough. My personality is not enough. My achievements are not enough. My experiences are not enough. I come to realize that by no standards would I be considered successful, that I am just a short experience fished from the sea of individuals who have actually achieved something with their lives. I have come to realize that there exist individuals who lead a more interesting life than I could ever hope for myself.

And is that all I will ever be? A short flicker in an ocean of blazing infernos? I hope not. I certainly hope that the summation of my life experiences would create some sort of positive and meaningful impact on the lives of others. It’s the life I hope I have led for the past 20 years of my life and continue to lead for the remaining 60 years. I hope that I have exhausted the limitations of my capabilities in becoming a stronger and more vibrant existence. A flame that allows other flames to burn brightly. I hope the flame of my existence illuminates others the same way that others have illuminated me. But what is the use of hope when I can never follow up on the goals I have set for myself?

I hope. Not because I do not live a life I want to lead, but because it seems that the life I lead is constantly never enough. Because, no matter how much I feel as if I am maximizing all aspects of my life that I value, it constantly feels that I would never accomplish anything meaningful. Because, no matter how much effort I cultivate into my flame, there will always exists flames that continually burn brighter than mine. Of course, no one is completely satisfied with their life; it’s in our nature to create problems when none exist. But, sometimes, I really wish I had those problems instead of the problems I have with my own life. I wish I could be concerned with opportunity cost as opposed to the lack of opportunity.

But, alas, all I can live is through the limitations of my own existence.