What Do I Do?

What do I do?

When we are young, we often have a magical idea of what our lives will amount to. Astronaut. Rockstar. Princess. The world, in short, is ours. However, typically, as we age, these ideologies are withered away by life’s abrasive practicality. Getting into a good college. Getting a well-paying job. Starting a family. And that’s it. That’s the formula. Now, I recognize that this equation is radically simplified and has been misshapen partially by 21st century forward-thinking. However, it's still there, like a skeleton, trying to structure our lives the way we’re ‘supposed to live it’.

I, however, find this way of living, although fulfilling for others, immensely underwhelming and oppressive. I want choice. And so I give myself idealistic goals to fulfill because I know if I achieve them, I will be happy. For example, Ted Talks. Everyone’s favorite pastime, but career choice? Unattainable. To me? Achievable. Why? I am still the kid who thinks I can be an astronaut. Rockstar. Princess. This is a blessing and a curse. 

To start off optimistically, the good news is I am ambitious. Everyday, I wake up and I work towards something bigger than today. For example, I’ll go to the gym. I’ll learn something new. I’ll write a poem. It’s not for my teacher. Parents. Friends. It’s for me. It’s absolutely fantastic. However, this goal-oriented, idealistic mindset, along with being my greatest asset, is also my greatest weakness. When I have a goal, I have to achieve it. And the outcome must be perfect. Otherwise, why did I invest my soul into the project? Just to screw up? No. I can’t afford that. It means too much to me. So every decision becomes about working towards that goal. I become dangerously passionate, to the point where I get bogged down in possibilities and pressure. 

As I wallow in the future, I am subjected to the now. The world in front of my hands and under my feet and besieging my body is so textured and raw, I sometimes can’t help but get sucked in. And this live-in-the-moment mentality is threatening to my idealistic dreamer’s mindset. This is because my ambitious, goal-oriented side wants to not only imagine a better future, but actually make one. However, living in the moment fights against the future. It wants the now. 

Being really present makes me want to do wild, impractical things. For example, when I see a microphone, I throw my homework to the side and sing. When I hear a familiar voice, I hop off the treadmill and start a conversation. When I walk by a dessert table, I devour the cake and cookies and ice cream without accounting for how sick I’ll feel after or the fact I had wanted to get in shape for the last two years. 

To someone with a futuristic mentality, these actions are disgusting. Why indulge when you can sacrifice for your greater well-being? It’s all so frustrating and confusing, and this is exactly why I’m indecisive about seemingly unimportant things. I always have to ask, what would really be best right now? What do I really want? What would make me a better person? 

There is so much weight on each decision. This has contributed to my dilemma with the indulgences of college life. Do I stay up and play pool all night with my friends or go to sleep and wake up early to go to the gym? Do I study for this test that’s worth my whole grade or help my friend who is struggling with her boyfriend’s indifference? Do I call my mom because I miss her or should I go talk to my advisor about switching my major because I’m questioning my future and need guidance before I pick classes next month? Hard choice after hard choice. It can be a lot to handle

Although my thoughts are deep and my actions take a long time to formulate, I am able to maintain my composure rather gracefully. I’m known for my energetic, loud, and happy nature. Always a compliment. Always a smile. Always a story. Although genuine, it’s only the surface of my personality. Most don’t know anything deeper about me and don’t realize the thoughtful and layered person that exists inside my skull. Although it can be difficult to know me very deeply, if a perceptive eye were to observe me, my enigmatic, indecisive nature would leak out.

For example, if you stopped and watched me anytime I leave my dorm, I will often walk with such conviction and immediately, out of nowhere, stop, and look around with a stupid smile on my face because I know the unnecessary hell I put myself through and the question: “Should I be doing this or should I be doing that…?” 

These choices can be as insignificant as where I’m going to eat. I’ll stand there for a good minute before coming to a conclusion. It can be comical, sure, but other times, it’s just frustrating. In fact, I got fairly angry with myself a number of weeks ago with my major. I wanted answers. A direction. A purpose. I thought I had had it: creative writing and publishing and editing. Then, I started taking my courses and realized that it wasn’t for me. Now what? I wasn’t sure, and that scared me. After a few weeks of careful consideration, I finally came to a conclusion which I revealed to my advisor, Mr. Robertson. He was impressed with my thoughtfulness but still gave me some frustrating news,

“This was a very intelligent and well informed decision. I am convinced you know what you’re talking about… it’s just… I think we should wait until the end of the semester for you to actually change your majors and classes just in case you change your mind.”

I finally came to a decision, and now I had to wait? I walked out feeling like the life had been vacuumed out of my body. The rest of the afternoon, I thought about his comment. After sitting on it for an hour, my agitation transformed into self-gratitude and motivation. My indecision helped me come to a conclusion, one that took forever, but like my advisor said, was smart and educated. Not only that, Mr. Robertson took the pressure off me to decide by having me wait until the end of the semester. It was liberating. 

So is there a better way to live? For the now or later? I have no idea. I can’t decide. I’ll have to think about it. But, for once, I’m okay with that.