Wednesday, October 16, 2013

All the futures I could have

There have been a lot of things on my mind lately.

The thoughts are wide and varied. When I try to put them down on paper, it often comes out all jumbled because there really is too much to think of. I'm at such a weird place in my life. Everything is in flux. I'm not really in control of much. At least, I don't feel like I am.

What it all boils down to, though, is the future.

And that got me thinking about how many futures I could have had.

Two years ago and a few days back, I started dating for real. Had that relationship not been doomed, I could've seen myself with that person long term. Being in a relationship for two years would've had a tremendous effect on where I am now, physically and mentally.

Four years ago I was looking at colleges. I could have very well decided not to apply to the one I go to now. If I hadn't, I might've ended up in London. I might've gone to school near home. I might've been happier, sadder, lonelier, more hopeful, less enthusiastic, crazier. Who knows, really. But it probably would've been very different.

A year before that, my mom passed away. And while no one had any control over that inevitability, that is yet another thing I think about and wonder 'Well, what if she was still here?'

And that's not even to mention the myriad of other decisions I've made, experiences I've had, troubles I've faced and people I've lost. There have been many. One day can consist of no unexpected happenings...or a lot of them.

While I'm not ready yet to talk about what it is I'm working through at the moment, why I feel the need to "let it all out," as I mentioned in my previous blog, I do feel comfortable in sharing one thing:

I don't feel like I'm in control anymore.

When I arrived at university three years ago, I felt powerful. That's not a word I often use to describe myself - meek and awkward as I am. But with all the opportunities ahead, I felt I could choose to do anything I wanted with my life. Or at least, I could choose to pursue the major I'd already signed up for and then follow through with that career choice the rest of my life.

But in three years I've lost that power. Bit by bit. Experience by experience. The more I know, the more I lose control. And as my dad has told me, not being in control is one of the things that can take the biggest toll on a person. We need to have some volition, some command over our fate, or else we feel lost and meaningless.

When I sat down to write this blog, it was going to be about all the futures I could have had. It was going to discuss the people I've loved who've broken my heart. The things I've imagined for my future that I now know will not come true - some because I don't want them anymore, others because I'm unwanted.

Regardless of what could have been, there is always what could be.

So even though there are things I've lost, people I'll never see again, experiences that I imagined and then had to leave behind... Well, there are infinite things that I haven't even considered that will, in fact, make up the rest of my existence.

That's a mysterious and daunting prospect. And I think part of the reason that I'm so terrified right now is that I'm afraid of the future never living up to expectation.

But what if the expectation is just that the future be unique and unexpected? Then what is there to lose?

I could end up being a journalist like I'd always planned, and maybe I'd love it. Or I could pursue a degree in something else. I could become a famous writer, thinker, creator, director. I could find the love of my life. I could be a mom. Maybe I'll decide I just want to own a bunch of cats or hang out in Central Park like the pigeon lady in Home Alone 2.

Goodness, who knows?

I've been ruminating so hard on what I don't have anymore, what I wanted and what was snatched from my grasp. But time goes on, feelings change, needs change and opportunities arise.

And there are a lot of futures left that remain to be seen.

I just hope I pick the right one. Or I hope it picks me.

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