I’ve always struggled with the question “What/where/who do you want to be when you grow up?” Starting as a child and continuing well into my 20s, I’ve heard this question more times I can count. From teachers, family, mentors, friends. I’ve always managed to disappoint the asker with my non committal answers. I once even earned the highest marks possible on an essay in the 5th grade around the topic. I penned a very passionate paper on how I wanted to be an archeologist because Scooby-Doo made it seem glamorous and ended it with something along the lines of “but that’s probably not going to happen because I’m in the 5th grade and I’m going to change my mind a million times before then.
As it turns out, even at 27 I am still changing my mind. After settling into a gorgeous apartment of my own that I adored, I sat down one day and said to myself “Wouldn’t it be great if I put all of my stuff into a storage unit and become essentially homeless for a year? Yea, that’s what I’ll do.”
And now I’m sitting on a plane, far past the point of no return on a flight leading to an adventure that will likely fundamentally change who I am as a human being. At the same time, I am also thinking through all of the things that I might have become if this opportunity had never crossed my path.
(Full disclosure, I am several drinks in (who says no to free Bailey’s? Not this girl) and have just watched La La Land for the first time on this flight.)
Every step in life is a balancing act between what is gained and what might be lost. The future isn’t a destination. It’s not some emerald palace at the end of yellow brick road that’s just waiting for you to show up after taking some highly calculated ruby coated steps.
The future is simply a series of choices.
Do I go left or right? Forwards or back? Do I stay to explore what might be? Or do I find adventure somewhere out in this big wild world? Is the right path holding tight to what I have or is it letting go? Will I ever get back to who I was a week ago?
The answer to that last question, by the way, is no. I don’t think I’ll ever be the same person that I was a week ago, before saying incredibly difficult goodbyes to those I love the most and boarding a plane to lands unknown. So this post is a tribute to the girl that I might have been had my path taken a different route.