I wasn’t going to do this — I was actually planning on doing my best to hide it away in the depths of my thoughts. But that Facebook memory feature … it gets you every damn time.
About a year ago, I wrote this reflection for The Pointer student newspaper on my time in college, student organizations and Stevens Point in general.
I cringed as I opened it, remembering some but not all of the details I had feverishly written up on one of my last late nights in an academic building. Some of my views on things have changed (I’d like to think for the better), but maybe I was wiser than I’m giving myself credit for. After all, this bit still rings very true:
What will I be doing a year from now? What will my life be like?
The answer? I have no idea. And that’s just the way I prefer it. I embrace the unexpected.
Well, mostly anyway. If anything, I now have a better idea of what exactly I don’t want:
- A desk job.
- To live in a Red State.
- To live in a small town for the rest of my life.
- To force myself into things just because it seems like the “right” thing to do at the time, or what I should want to do in order to look like a success from the outside.
- And plenty of other things, I’m sure!
I was busy in college. I liked it that way, but not for reasons I fully realized until I got out:
It meant I never had to really figure out what I wanted to do or what made me truly happy.
I was so busy with this project, that paper, this club, that job, etc. that I didn’t have a moment to breathe and maybe take a risk for something that didn’t seem practical or safe. By the time I had that moment, I would be so starving, stressed or tired that McDonald’s, alcohol or my bed would absorb the thought.
I didn’t fully realize it at the time, but I was doing all that running around with the busy syndrome to make sure I got a job, not the job. I wanted to ensure I could market myself, but to who? For what? And to get where?
Now I’m not trying to discredit anything I did. I did a lot of things I never expected to be able to and have a lot of accomplishments I’ll always be proud of … but more times than not, it feels like I wasn’t really doing that for me. And on top of that, I wasn’t really doing it with an end goal in mind, either.
Then who was I doing it for, you might ask? My overly judgmental hag of an imaginary friend is the only excuse I can come up with.
I fell into a lot of things and pushed myself relentlessly, but again: To where? The killer part of all this is that I was supposed to be the one who had it all figured out. I had the early graduation, the extensive involvement, scholarships from high school through college, awards and a field that I looked qualified enough to join. So why isn’t it enough?
(Part of it, I now realize, is because I’ve always fantasized about this life and nothing else quite compares, but that’s a long, winding story for another time).
Because while others put it all out on the line, followed their dreams, ignited their passions and took wild risks, I more or less played it safe and took up niches I knew could get me a job relatively easily with minimal pain and heartbreak.
But sometimes heartbreak is beautiful.
(And this has suddenly gone in a really fucking strange direction.)
I’m getting a little more dramatic than I’d like to (especially knowing it could always be worse), but all I can do is be honest with myself … and you?
Before I get completely off track and go on a tangent (there’s plenty of time for that), I’ll just leave you with this:
Life is too short to settle. For a job. For a guy. For a kind of life you know you don’t want. It doesn’t matter what you thought you wanted or what anyone else thought you needed.
Embrace the unexpected — even if it’s more unexpected than you thought it might be.
Until next time —
Peace, love & fairy dust,