Icarian Dreams

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“The boy began to delight in his daring flight, and abandoning his guide, drawn by desire for the heavens, soared higher.”

Daedalus and Icarus, a famous Greek myth, tells the tale of a captive inventor (Daedalus) and his son (Icarus), who with makeshift wings, attempt to flee their prison. Icarus, driven by inspiration, flies towards the Sun. His wax wings melt, and he plummets to his death. At its core, the tale is about a boy who meets his downfall in a brief, hopeful attempt to grasp the heavens.

People laugh, but I have always found a certain charm in Icarus’s flight. Passion drove Icarus; I too am driven by my passion. Be it a love of art, film, or the world around me, I can’t help but be invested in something greater than myself.

For example, last summer, I boarded a plane alone to attend a science program in Georgia. I helped conduct a sea-level study which is of global significance. The unfamiliarity with research was intimidating, but something about the trip sparked a pioneering spirit in me. I thrive on the unknown and my trip was full of variables: new faces, new lodgings, new ideas, new experiences.

The thrill of learning consumed me. The stagnant air poured into the marsh, encroaching on my lungs. The Sun blazed. Work was intense. But, I never complained because the research was a chance to learn. The chance to learn is an ideal that I value pursuing. I always work to pursue my ideals.

Like Icarus, I am an idealist. I don’t stress over details. Rather than worry about a “perfect” GPA, I try to learn in all areas of life: art, literature, academia, etc. If given the choice between doing a small homework assignment (to move an A- to an A) or rehearsing my lines for a play, I run lines. My priorities don’t lie in being a model student. School is just one pursuit of knowledge, and thus sometimes can be a secondary concern. I follow my passions.

Passion leads me down many paths. Passion for theatre drove me to play the lead in a recent play. Love of art encouraged me to take up painting. An attraction to cinema drove me to lead my school’s Film Club. Working towards my passions is my most important asset. I pour my life into these pursuits. I always have a new, exciting idea to tell my peers about.

I define myself by my zeal, and nothing summons more of my zeal than cycling. Tragically, many reduce cycling to miles, to calories, to hours. Useless figures for useless excursions. To me, cycling is freedom- the empowerment of movement, the interaction between man and nature, cycling offers a means to know the world around. The cyclist, self-liberated, is like Icarus.

When cycling, I feel completely in tune with my surroundings. I am a part of something greater, appreciating the boundless world around me. I am Icarus: a pioneer, an idealist, a man driven by passion. I have found a vessel for freedom. I fly across endless stretches of curvy road, vault over rugged peaks, and soar down steep slopes. This summer, I plan to bike across the United States, seamlessly floating between forest, mountain, and plain.

The days will be arduous, but every night, I will sleep knowing that I have truly lived. Icarus, like the explorers of centuries ago, was driven by a desire to push himself farther and farther in a lunge for greatness.

For this, I have lived.
For this, I live.
For this, I will always live.





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