I never dreamed for endless amounts of candy, a bigger playground or to become a ballerina as a child. Instead, I planned the steps I needed to take to become a teacher, how to afford a big house or how to land the perfect guy who won’t hurt me. My true search however was for true happiness. Needless to say, things didn’t quite pan out the way I thought.
More often than not, I spent hours listing all the things I wanted to do with my life and how to achieve them, wanting to escape or improve my life.
I’ve always found comfort in planning my future. Now that I’m older and can look back, my fascination with the future centered around my capability to implement change. And I thought that if I just waited long enough, things would eventually get better. This especially happened when my parents got divorced and we moved out of our three-story house into a three-bedroom apartment. During that time, I held on to hope that in time my family’s happiness and comfortable lifestyle would soon return.
Fast forward a dozen years or so. I’m a junior in college on track to graduate in May 2019. And long story short, that little girl who knew exactly how to accomplish her dreams vanished a long time ago. As I got older, self-doubt, low self-esteem, depression and anxiety sank into my life and stole my ambition. It sounds like a mouthful, and it is. Now, I’m desperately searching for what’s next. I don’t know what dreams to chase. Self-doubt and low self-esteem steal every dream that pops up in my head. And just when I think I can get enough motivation to pursue those dreams, depression and anxiety take it back.
Money remains an issue. I’m still looking for friends. I’m single as can be. I still try to get the flat tummy I so desperately desire. And most importantly, I’m still searching for what makes me happy. I should know that by now, right? Sometimes I feel like I’m behind everyone else. What’s wrong with me that I can’t figure out what makes me happy?
I thought college held the answer to this question. Don’t get me wrong: I learned a few things about myself during my college years. For instance, I learned I enjoy editing video, writing and inspiring women, but I could’ve figured that out on my own without a $20,000 loan hanging over my head.
To be frank, I’m not excited to graduate college. I’m terrified of it because when I graduate, I must make something out of myself without the reassurance of a good grade on a paper—my whole life I measured my success by my grades. I’m successful at the end of the year if I earned a 3.5 GPA or higher. However, after May 2019, I need to create my own definition of success and pursue my dreams without that constant validation.
Who I am without grades? What am I supposed to do with my life? Where can I find joy? I bounce all of these questions off the moon as I lie awake late at night. And then the sun comes up and provides a different perspective.
I won’t let the stress and worry about my future occupy too much of my time. I need to know that a better life doesn’t just magically happen with time. It takes hard work and dedication to build. The future shines bright when I take the initiative and light the way. I’ll make a plan of action for a goal I want to accomplish and if it falls through I’ll make another one. Every time a thought about my unknown future pops in my head, I’ll tell myself I’m only 20 years old with a lifetime ahead of me. I’ll figure it out.