“Anne laughed and sighed. She felt very old and mature and wise- which showed how young she was.”
-L.M. Montegomery, Anne of the Island
And thus begins a new year, a new semester, and a new decade for little me. Normally I am not one for New Year’s Resolutions, yet as 2014 descended upon us, I thought I could give it a try. Nothing wrong with a bit of change, right? Our own world is never resolute: it is static, frantic even, in its movements. As I begin this new year as an official “twenty-something,” I have resolved to do some things differently.
Mainly, I think it would be beneficial to stop worrying so much about the future. Sometimes I think that young people are too focused on making plans to accommodate for tomorrow that they are left with nothing for today. Yet this is not an error of ours; we are told at age fourteen that every avenue we pursue bears either rewards or consequences. We are told at age sixteen that one test decides our fate, and to not mess it up. We are told at age seventeen to decide what we want to be when we are fully-fledged adults, to decide where this change needs to take place, and to essentially plan our adult lives despite still being children. To me, this is quite the flaw: I know very few adults who have actually fulfilled what their seventeen year old self, even their twenty year old self, had intended for them.
This got me thinking: as I am so fond of adventure, why not look at life as the grandest adventure of all? Quest narratives often take such unexpected turns: beloved characters die, allies sometimes turn out to be the villain in disguise, and the ultimate destination may prove fruitless when compared to a richer unknown. Part of my “New Year’s Resolution” is to stop worrying so much about the destination, this end-stop that so many people have tried to tell me is the most important aspect of life. I have resolved to give simple living a try. Right now, I really don’t know what I want to do after university. A few weeks ago I had the wild idea to pursue the Peace Corps after I graduate, to fulfill my desire to travel even further while making a difference in the process. As I am young, passionate about learning and exploration, and able bodied, what is holding me back? Or what about trying to finish my book before I graduate, thinking more about that manuscript than the diploma placed in my hand? I have even considered trying something new, like acting, as another room for my creativity and fondness for theatrics seep into.
Though I still desire continuing my education beyond the undergraduate level, out of my insatiable curiosity, I need to tell myself that I have all the time in the world to do so. I must never doubt that a Masters or PhD will come to me; I am motivated enough to make such things happen. Yet I think it is high time for me to simply slow down. Amongst those who know me, I am famous for the phrase “comfortable mosey;” this is my preferred pace of locomotion, regardless of the occasion. Late for an appointment? Comfortable mosey. Walk down by the seaside? Comfortable mosey. Yet why do I eschew this pace in the great timeline of my life? It seems silly, really.
Thus arises my new manifesto: enjoying life. There are so many things I want to experience, yet “growing up” as its most commonly perceived is not one of them. As I begin a new decade in my life, I hope to fill it with as many new experiences as possible, and simply forget about tomorrow for a little while. Making myself anxious over a future I really cannot control only detracts from the beauty of the everyday. I can already count on one unforgettable thing that will happen this year: my first trip to mainland Europe. Who knows what else could happen?
It is now time for me to challenge you to try something new. Though “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door,” as Bilbo once said, it is worth the risk. Think of the adventure!
Originally written 28 January 2014