“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
"A doctor," "an actress," "a teacher," my 10-year-old friends eagerly volunteered during a birthday party as my friend’s mother prompted: "what do you want to be when you grow up?"
Finally it was my turn. My mind drawing a blank, I blurted out an answer that must have come from somewhere in my gut. The mother chuckled dismissively and asked me to give her a real answer.
Over the years, I was asked variations of the same question, and I learned to give more acceptable answers like those of my friends. In the process, I convinced myself that those were the right answers. I replaced my childhood aspiration with more conventional and tangible goals.
Now that I have reached many of the milestones I was 'supposed to,' I find myself thinking back to my original ambition and realizing that it’s what I’ve wanted all along.
I want to bask in the joy of helping a friend or sharing a smile with a stranger. I want the delight of introducing someone to a beautiful song or teaching a child a new word. I crave the satisfaction of enhancing and enriching someone else’s life. I yearn for the secret bliss of lovely dreams after a well-lived day.
I said it when I was ten: "when I grow up I want to be happy." Now I say it confidently, knowing that my happiness will come from helping others find their own happiness.
— Ann Lucena
Each year we ask our classmates a straightforward, simple question taken from the lines of a poem by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Mary Oliver.
We share with you intimate and candid responses to this question, "What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
Concept and photography:
Tony Deifell, MBA '02
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Harvard Business SchoolDillon HouseSoldiers Field
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