I recently had an influx of panic that consumed me like a whale consumes brill; one big open mouth swimming effortlessly and picking up thousands of little fishes in one fell swoop. Nom. Nom. Yeah, that’s exactly what I felt like. Panicked, effortless constricting panic, that was directing me like a traffic cop down the path to question what it is exactly I want out of my life. Five years ago I was in a completely different place in my life and where I am sitting now is never where I expected myself to be. In fact, I don’t know how to properly relay to the world that twenty year old Samantha never expected twenty five year old Samantha. It’s not that I expected to be graduating from Berkeley with a PhD in BioChem, but looking back at where I was five years ago, if I had stayed on that path my life would be very, very, different. The end result? I need a new fiver; I need a new five year plan.
So that leaves me with the simple question: What do I want to be when I grow up? Yeah, that’s really not a simple question. When I was five years old I wanted to be an astronaut. When I was ten I wanted to be a veterinarian. When I was sixteen I wanted to be a doctor. When I was twenty I wanted to be a lawyer. I’m twenty five now and I don’t have a damn clue as to what I want to be. I’ve been really thinking heavily about the whole law school bit, but the reality is that the market is flooded with lawyers graduating from top tiered schools who aren’t getting jobs and are in a mountain of debt with no way to pay them off. That and I don’t know if I want to live to work, because the reality of it is, I think I love life a little too much. Not that all of my friends who are lawyers don’t love their lives, but I feel that there is a general sense of animosity towards the fact that they have to work because of the looming school loans over their heads. I don’t know if I really can deal with that. I don’t even like that I left a $200 balance on my Amex this month.
So, what do I want to do? Do I really need to determine what it is that I want to do when I’m twenty five when I still have, potentially, another sixty years to live? It’s got me thinking about the insurmountable pressure put on kids who have the traditional college years from 18-23. Essentially, they are required to spend ~$25k-~$150k to distinguish themselves as educated in a field that they are going to work in for the remainder of their lives. The remainder – of – their – lives. Holy crap. That’s a huge life decision, and financial decision, that we are expecting people to make when they are still considered dangerous drivers until the age of twenty five. Why can’t I make this decision when I’m 30? Or hell, 40? What would have happened if I had gone the traditional route? Graduate college at 23, grad school to become a veterinarian and only to find that five years into the profession that I’d really rather be female roller derby player and live out of a backpack traveling across the country? Or what if I decided that I really would rather be an artist and starve? Because face it, my art isn’t going to pay my bills.
So what is my new five year plan? I’m really, really struggling with this. Maybe it’s also because in five-freaking-years i’ll be turning thirty and that alone scares the pants off me. Thirty in five years? What the hell. I remember when I started playing ultimate and I was the baby. I’m no longer the baby. Hell, most of the boys on the KSU frisbee team calls me mom. I hate that; really, I do, but I’m not the baby anymore. I’m the veteran, the older person, the – yuck. I don’t want to be responsible. I don’t want to set good examples for people. I want to set bad examples, if any examples, of what not to do and to not follow in my footsteps. Not all who wander are lost, but all who wander sure do have a helluva time getting from point A to point B. (Side note: while editing this, I realized I used “hell” a lot in this paragraph and thought about omitting, but hell, it’s true.)
So in five years, I don’t know what I’ll be doing. I’ve considered trying to find a job writing somewhere, or blogging professionally, but the reality of that is slim. I could always stay here, doing what I’m doing, and just not do anything after I graduate college. I’ve thought about going to graduate school for speech pathology, which is currently my newest thoughts and ideas for my future, but who knows if that’s something that I’ll really ever do. What about going to learn how to make wine? A master wine maker. Could be super fun. What about trying to find some job working at Turner or TNT doing some type of film and writing combination? After all, I’ll have a minor in film. I’ve also heavily considered traveling abroad to teach English overseas for a few years.
I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up and in part I think that’s because I had to grow up so fast from ages 18-25 that from 25 to 30? 35? 50? I don’t want to be a grown up anymore. There are a few things that I do know that I absolutely positively want: freedom, individuality, happiness, excitement, fun and adventure. I don’t want to be stuck in a hole that I can’t climb myself out of. I don’t want to feel like I’m trapped somewhere. I want to explore, both the world and myself, to find where I really belong. I want to figure out what it is in my life that I am meant to do! Where I am meant to be, if that is in Africa or Sonoma Valley, Germany or France, or right here in Hot-lanta. I want to be happy! I want to feel like I’m appreciated and loved for all that I am and all that I am not. I want to be apart of something, be it small or big, but apart of something that I am passionate about.
So in one fell swoop, here’s my new fiver: 1. Graduate college 2. Determine if graduate school is a viable option 3. Be happy 4. Travel 5. hold onto the people that I love! Without these people, I would be nothing. It’s loving the people in your life that makes your life worth living anyway.
I think, right now, that’s a good place to start.