I want to live in Italy for a couple of years.
I want to live in Germany for a couple of years.
I want to have four kids.
I want to get a PhD in English literature.
I want to get into fantastic shape.
I want to learn Greek.
I graduate college in T-minus two months and then my "real life" begins. As I look for post-graduation jobs and plan my wedding, I am frequently plagued by a relatively new thought:
What if I don't do all of that stuff?
That has never really occurred to me in quite this way. As a kid, you never really connect with your Grown-Up Self. Adult You is a separate, theoretical entity that exists by himself in the future, with no concrete bridge to Actual, Current You.
When I planned/plan my Future, the plans are for the brunette superwoman I wish I could be. It is only lately that I'm starting to realize the fact that I am the only "me" I will ever have. There is no point where this oxymoronic, scattered, passionate twenty-something will cleanly dissolve into the universe and Brunette Superwoman will come to live the rest of my ideal life for me.
If *I*--real me, right here, right now, as I am--don't live my dreams, then I won't live my dreams.
And that is terrifying and stupidly surprising. Like, wait, what? I personally have to weigh the pros and cons of living on another continent from my family and trying to work in a foreign country? I personally have to push four small humans from my body? I personally have to dedicate my time and energy and passion to words and research for another bunch of years? I personally have to eat right and work out? I personally have to find a Greek curriculum and do the work?
What if I--this oxymoronic, scattered, passionate twenty-something--can't do that? What if it looks too overwhelming and I just get tired and settle?
What if I decide that I don't want those things anymore, now that I personally have to do them? What if I disregard them for truly good reasons? How will I know I disregarded them for good reasons and not because I got scared?
How seriously do other people take me? When I say I want to live in Italy and get a PhD, Gabe believes me. Will he be disappointed if I don't follow through?
My fourteen-year-old self had THE MOST grand plans for my twenty-something self, and even better ones for my thirty- and forty-something selves. She intended for me to Change. The. World. Not that she matters anymore (seeing as she doesn't exist), but what if I disappoint her? What if I disappoint my twenty-two-one-month-and-three-days self?
I know living a happy, successful life has nothing to do with money. I believe that. I have never struggled with and am at complete peace with that. But I have always thought that living a happy and successful life means Italy and Germany and four kids and a doctor of philosophy and a strong, healthy body and an ability to read Greek. What if that is just as wrong as placing my happiness in money?
I know true happiness comes from Love: love from and for God; and through him, love for others and myself. But now, with reality staring me in the face, I am wondering how much I will really accomplish--not how much I CAN accomplish, mind you; that's what trips me up. Dismiss me as arrogant, but I know I am capable of fantastic things. The question is, will I do them? And if I don't, how much does that matter?
As always, I will let you know if I ever find out.