Let’s go back in time to the spring of our senior year in high school, when we were young fledglings on the brink of adulthood — back when the most common questions we received were the all-invasive, “Where are you going to school in the fall? What are you going to study?” It seemed as though every adult felt it was their prerogative to ask us intense questions about our futures, which we were purposefully working to avoid.
Our young and naive pre-Berkeley selves believed that this interrogation was a gross violation of our privacy and personal liberty in the pursuit of happiness. Once we got to college, we figured we were free from these random and unauthorized inquiries. But alas, we’re on a rollercoaster ride that only goes up.
As our college times fly by, we draw closer and closer to entering the Real World™. This apparently makes it acceptable for strangers to ask us for the details of our 10-year plan for after graduation. Our parents want to know about grad school, and our uncle is pushing the Peace Corps on us like his life depends on it. Through this weed-whacking of propositions lies the all-encompassing worry that we’re going to blow these next few years and end up on a couch in a basement.
The future is often given the short end of the stick. It’s viewed with a sense of anxiety and uncertainty that completely negates the excitement of the endless possibilities that lie before us. Some people may think that the total unknown is a reason to fear the future. It’s actually quite the contrary. The unimaginable permutations of what we may achieve in these next few years are mind-blowing. It’s the wonder of Schrödinger’s cat applied to real life. Until we know for certain what is going to happen, that forever leaves the chance that what lies ahead is greatness.
So what if we don’t know what we’re going to be doing or where we’re going to be living in August 2021? That’s fine. That’s great, even. That means that August 2021 holds the possibility of us living our dreams, whatever they may be.
Sure, our plans may go completely awry, but that’s not to say that’s a bad thing. Our plan to move to the East Coast and become the world’s best stockbroker may be blown to smithereens, but that’s OK. Heck, at 5 years old, many of us were trying to be president-astronaut-veterinarian. Today, we realize that politics is a hot mess, heights make our hands clammy and every creature of the animal kingdom hates us. What we have our minds set on now may be completely different from what our heart chooses next week — and therein lies the thrill of the future. Maybe our true end destination in life is to be a pastry chef in New Orleans. Only time will tell.
Contact Amanda Chung at [email protected].