Image via iamblessed.
I found this image via tumblr today, and the answer to the question rang out in my head instantly. Nope. Not a clue. At first, that scared me. I've always been one to plan. I had a clear cut path to get me through high school and into college. I had hopes and dreams that came with road maps. But now that I'm here I'm discovering that the parts of life that are quickly approaching are not ones that come with directions. What's more, I'm beginning to think that this might not be such a bad thing.
I have this image of life as a timeline: a clearly defined line with a little tick mark that marks your place in how close you are to accomplishing your goals. If you'd asked me the afore-mentioned question near the end of my senior year of high school, I'd have placed that tick mark about an inch from the end. I didn't realize how much more there would be to life, or how much more I'd want to accomplish outside of earning a college degree. (Good gracious, I was naive. And I'm sure I'll say the same of me now a little later...) The further I go from where I am now, the further backward that little mark is pulled down the line. It doesn't make any sense at all. Logically, shouldn't it be moving forward?
I came to college with all the eagerness of the young. I was ready to learn and experience and accomplish. I thought that I'd be handed clear-cut facts that I could etch into my mind, solid pieces of knowledge that would stay with me for the rest of my life and ensure my success. Oh, what a surprise I received! I learned nothing of the sort. In fact, about the only acquired knowledge I can chalk up to college (so far, anyway) is the ability to question. I don't take anything for granted anymore. I find myself rejecting opinions of others more frequently. I argue, and search out my own answers more often than I heed the words of another. (But along with that rebellion, I've learned that criticism is best received with grace and open ears. Without it, we cannot grow. Everything in balance...)
That way of questioning isn't limited to academics. It carries over into my everyday life. I question where I'm going, what I'm accomplishing, if it's the right way for me. I question whether I'm doing enough of both what I want and what I need... And at the end of the day, I usually end up with more questions than answers. (A far cry from what I expected to be happening at this point in my life.)
I feel like all the questioning has stripped away all the hazy parts of myself: the outlines I had about the future, the doors that I had closed long ago, the options I had written off as "not to be considered." All that I have left is a foundation -- the smallest bit of a structure to build from that contains only the bare minimum of my being: my beliefs and values, my interests, the things I love, and an immense amount of hope for what's to come.
So, I have no idea where I am in my journey. I don't know what's coming or how close I am to finding out. I don't know how I'll manage it. I don't even know exactly where I want to be going. All I have to go on is faith and (hopefully) luck and whatever courage I can muster. And (finally) I don't think that's such a bad thing. Every day is a new adventure, and each one holds a little bit more potential than the last, because each morning I'm a little bit more willing to let go and just live it. Whatever's coming will come in it's own time; I can't stop it, rush it, or change it. It's just going to have to happen...when it happens.
Eventually, I know I'll find the answers I've been seeking for so long. Until then, I have nothing but time and opportunities, and I intend to make the very most of each and every one. After all, most of them won't come around twice. ;)