The Future

silver linings discussionI started this blog post on the 6:30 A.M. flight to Newark, New Jersey. We got up at 4 A.M. and stumbled blearily to the car. Nearly missed our flight too, but that's another story. From there, we caught a train to look at colleges. There were people on our flight headed to New York City, and the name sent a thrill through me because I know that's where I'm going to end up for at least part of someday.Senior year so far has been a lot of thinking about the future. I'm not particularly new to this - after all, I wouldn't be where I am today without at least a little bit of foresight.When I was in seventh grade, I started a blog. This was spurred mainly out of a seventh reread of a beloved series and a loneliness from never having anybody with which to talk about books. I never realized there were people out there who got as excited over books as I did. I felt uncomfortably like an adult stuck in a thirteen-year-old's skin - granted, with thirteen-year-old emotions. Admittedly, I still had a lot of growing up to do, and I still do. That didn't make the feeling of yearning any less valid. I used to say it like a mantra. Eight years left. Eight years of wanting to be out there, wanting to interact with the world and others.I wanted to be taken seriously. I wanted to feel tangible emotion. I wanted to affect people - to matter and stir and to lead, although I never thought I was capable of the last and it wasn't my original intention.In eighth grade, I went to BookExpo America. I met other bloggers - ones who struck me with absolute awe - for the first time. I remember being so intimidated by the West brothers and Kelsey Dickson and Brent Taylor, incredible readers and people who I now consider close friends. I met Kristi Diehm, who used to run a phenomenal blog called The Story Siren, and graciously provided me with so much insight when I first began blogging. She's no longer as involved, but that's because she's busy raising adorable, adorable children.I remember being overwhelmed by the certainty that I love books and bookish people, and want to be around them for the rest of my life. I'm not sure I ever expected to love something so much or throw myself into something so wholeheartedly, so completely.When I came back home, I was distraught. I knew exactly where I wanted to be and who I wanted to be around, and it seemed like I was stuck in a sort of limbo. A special sort of hell where I felt stifled by my age. I wrote this raw, still unedited post about having a passion and knowing that I was pursuing it full-force. I felt unable to relate to the kids in my grade and unable to stomach the idea of keeping my head down for another four years.That post is what launched me into blogging. Before that, I loved it and I worked hard at it. But something about that post struck a chord. That was the first post I ever had that "made it big", per se. I remember all these established, seemingly-flawless bloggers reached out to me and told me I wasn't alone and talked about how strange it was that I was fourteen and had these larger-than-life certainties about where I was meant to be. I wouldn't be where I am now without those people who connected with what I said, and took me at my word. I got opportunities and a platform that gave me both the confidence and the motivation to work even harder and push myself.When junior year rolled around, I started loving myself much more. I finally felt settled in what I do - but always excited, always reaching. I wrote on my walls and talked about cognitive intimacy. I danced around my kitchen to motown and finally got leadership positions in clubs which I loved. I emailed lots of publishing houses and read lots of books and spent so many nights curled up on my couch studying with a mug of coffee. Admittedly, I'm a vibes girl and I loved the vibes around me. I loved loving what I do and finally having the opportunities to chase after it. I loved knowing what I'd already done - experiences I would have thought impossible just a few years earlier.My goals have changed. I'm taken seriously. I have a resume and a following and relationships with other people who are just as involved. And I'm satisfied with myself or at least, who I'm attempting to be. Now, I want to move people.The past four years have flown by, although it's never felt too fast. Instead, the months feel stuffed - I feel so filled with the events and people and emotions of the past four years in a way that makes me satisfied that I've had the young adult experience so far. I used to read young adult books hoping to live vicariously, and it fills me with a strange sense of joy to have lived in the way the characters do.I've been thinking about my future lately, as every high school senior has. It feels bizarre to define my past in a way that's suddenly quantifiable - in resumes and personal essays and desires and interviews. I've been thinking about my future in terms of where I can realistically get into, what I can afford, and the majors and opportunities available to me at each given place. I'm not sure I ever thought I would be so conflicted over the dominant aspects of my personality and where those fit within the spectrum of the schools to which I've chosen to apply.Admittedly, there's one place I can see myself and the next month is going to be agony waiting for a decision. Although it's largely impossible to get into - supplemented by fervent, desperate prayers and lots of emails - I remain an optimist at heart. If I get my heart broken, I'm just hoping to maintain the positivity that I've aimed for over the past four years.School is one aspect. There are so many things I want to do with my life and there are so many things I've done which I never would have expected. I never would have expected to have best friends from different parts of the country or to have become a lacrosse goalie or to have a character in a book based off my interviews. I never would have expected to be hired at the prettiest bookstore I've ever been to, or to have written 50,000 words in a month, or to be Most Likely to Succeed. On the flip side, I never would have expected certain people to affect me so significantly and for that to sometimes hurt. I've failed and I've dreamed and I've spent many nights feeling alone because of what I choose to do. But still, the pervasive love I have for what I do keeps me happy because I finally feel like I have purpose. Like I move people now, and like I now have the opportunity to do so.I've heard the phrase "you're so lucky you have your life planned out" about a million times since I decided I wanted to work in publishing. Honestly? Not true. I have nothing planned. I know I want to work in publishing at some point, in some capacity, but I have no idea when I'll get there or how I'll get there or what I'll do there.It ranges from the concrete to the little, in terms of what I want to do with my life.I want to get an MFA at some point, after college. Maybe do a publishing institute. I want to get a Ph.D. I want, at the end of my road, to become a professor. I want to study linguistics, and language, and cognitive intimacy. Primarily, I want to learn a lot. It's why I read. I want to have enough money to buy a piano. I want to have a green door. I want to learn Russian or German. I want to go to Prague for a while. I want to learn how to play the cello. I want to take ballet classes and find a swing-dancing partner.Out of it all, we'll see what happens. One of my biggest strengths and weaknesses is that I love everything. I love people and events and details so deeply and thoroughly that it's almost exhausting. I'm hoping, in the end, that I love where I go and what I do with it.For now, it's a waiting game.

discussionsGrace9 Comments