I find myself writing this from my very favorite green chair, a chair I’ve had since I was 17, that is stationed firmly up against a wall in Dan’s room. It’s weird seeing my things here, because this place is so familiar, and my things are so familiar… but together they are different. Together my chair, my paintings, my tea box, and Dan’s room all make up something new. I’ve been here so many times, but tonight I’m not just visiting… and I can feel it. As he set his desk up in a different corner of the room to accommodate my life inside of his he asked me, “how am I going to set up this microphone?”, and I answered with “we’ll figure it out.” Earlier today he told me he doesn’t like “We’ll figure it out”, because it may sound nice and reassuring, but it really just means something hasn’t been figured out yet. I like it, though.
I’m comfortable not having plans. I’m comfortable having plans to eventually have plans. Most people want to map everything out, be in control of all the variables. Me? I more or less operate my life with a vague outline of what I want and how I want to get it, rather than taking that extra step and fleshing out a draft. I don’t believe in 5 year plans, nor do I believe that you can plan for everything. This keeps me optimistic, I think, since it allows me to believe that everything is still possible… even if it isn’t. Maybe I still want to be a princess when I grow up. I haven’t thought about all the reasons why it could never happen, or everything that could go wrong along the way, I’ve only thought of all the reasons why it would be awesome.
I guess… you could say I’m a dreamer.
In fact, I would say I have more dreams than goals. The difference between those two being that dreams are the things people usually give up to achieve their goals. The sad thing is that the world that we live in is designed to let people do that. My freshman history professor once said to my class that the world is full of dream killers, and it’s resonated with me through out the years. To me, this doesn’t necessarily mean that there are a bunch of people out there who are actively trying to keep others from being what they want to be, but there will always be people around to tell you why you can’t do something. Sometimes it’s someone as close to you as your best friend, sometimes it’s someone you barely know, and sometimes it’s yourself.
You see, we were told that we could be or do anything, but life isn’t actually set up that way. They send us to school for 16 years, and somewhere between learning to drive and throwing your tasseled hat in to the air, you have to decide what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. There’s never any real time to sit down and actually think about the decisions we’re making; we’re just rushed in to making them. I didn’t know what shoes I wanted to wear when I was 18, let alone what productive role in society I wanted to fill. We spend our whole childhood preparing for our life to start… but when is that exactly? Does it start after high school, after college, after you get married and buy a house, after you have a baby? I’ve come to realize that the answer is relatively simple. Life isn’t some big grand thing that we have to be on a list to get in to. Life is apparently what happens when you’re busy making other plans. This is it. Lion King had it right. Life starts “the day we arrive on this planet.”
I don’t want to be too busy making plans to realize that I’m living.
So yeah, we’ll figure it out. Assurance may be safe, but it’s boring, too. I don’t know where I’m going to be in my life next year, but I know that I’m out here taking real risks for the first time in ever. I’m young, I’m in love, and I’m not going to bother with noticing the dream killers anymore – not even the one in myself. Looking back, that’s probably what my history professor was hoping we’d get out of that lecture. The truth is that the world is actually full of possibilities, but it’s only as full of them as you let it be.
It occurs to me that I’m writing an unintentional homage to John Lennon, and though I’m not the biggest fan, it’s okay. I suppose the guy said some cool things from time to time.