I've spent the last year thinking about what I want to spend my life doing. It stemmed from thinking about what I want the world to become. I woke up a lot of mornings not convinced that what I was going to do that day was ultimately useful to humanity. There was no way I could continue living life like that.
What I'll actually spend my life doing partly depends on what can realistically be done and what I am capable of doing. But my priorities, and the tradeoffs, remain the same.
My large-scale priorities, in vague order:
- Help humans get their needs met
- Achieve human equity
- Stop killing animals
- Stop destroying Earth for funsies
The corresponding large-scale goals:
- Implement baseline food, shelter, health care, education, and other needs
- Convince society to destroy structural discrimination / Pass basic human protections
- Make synthetic meat and leather / Pass basic animal protections
- Prevent the destruction of natural habitats / Pass basic Earth protections
- Develop space exploration and terraforming to support human population growth long-term
My personal priorities, in vague order:
- Make useful sh*t
- Make cool sh*t
- Bridge worlds
- Be healthy
My corresponding personal goals:
- Develop applications that help underserved communities get their basic needs met or help influence action to improve conditions for them
- Make art / Produce music / Write novels
- Connect very different people
- Exercise / Eat plants / Learn martial arts
The ever-loving and trusting idealist in me still believes helping other humans will ultimately result in a better world, so that's at the top. If you help others meet their basic needs, there will be more people who can also think about how they can improve the world and do some of these other things. Maybe not all of them would be able or willing to do so, but some of them would, and that's more than there were before.
Making art is actually part of staying healthy. I realized a long time ago that my mind starts to unravel when I go for too long without writing or making art or music. It's both a creative outlet and a way to leave something for others to enjoy and be touched by long after I'm gone.
There are secondary personal priorities, like making enough money to cover expenses, or supporting a family. Many people choose to make those priorities their main focus in life. I am clearly not one of them. I accept that I may have to dial down some of my main priorities to address those. But as long as I am able to, I'd like to focus on helping humanity at large, because anything less ambitious may not get me out of bed every morning.