Five years ago. Five years ago I was 19, living in a small, dark apartment we called “The Granny Cave,” and biking to campus to make it to my Shakespeare 120 class which took place in a theatre-like lecture hall underneath the campus Subway restaurant. My classroom’s location meant it always smelled like bread. and a pound of flesh! (Merchant of Venice, anyone? anyone?). If I remember correctly I was adamantly trying to perfect the Katniss braid and pretty much settling for the “messy” braid look. The messy braid better always be in style or I’m never braiding my hair ever again. Some of you out there are loosening and tossing your braids every which way on purpose, for a “look.” I do this naturally.
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
-L.M. Montogmery, Anne of Green Gables.
This time of year always makes me a little nostalgic for school. Not for the tests, stress, and occasional backpack back pain, but for the casual walks across bricks covered in crunchy leaves, and professors who start out fresh from vacation and have convinced themselves to believe in 20 something’s intelligence again. And you swear you’re going to check and write in your planner and color code it, and instead 2 months later a pear rots in your backpack and your beautiful planners smells like a Bath and Body Works from Hades. Ah, to be a student again. The hard part about school is that it’s supposed to be training you for life. But no one has all the answers, and most can only give you very specialized answers, or the very vague “We’re all on a journey…” Well, College is a very specific journey with parameters and it’s really really expensive for most people. And one day, you graduate. And five years after that Shakespeare class, you only make it through 2 minutes of a Ukulele tutorial video because learning is hard.
So goals. Where do you see yourself in five years? I see myself on a stage giving motivational speeches on groundbreaking research on the power of sugar cookies and having a little bit of heart. And Martha Stewart calls ME for advice about her beekeeping skills. All silliness aside, I’m still stuck in thinking that five-year goals have to be ambitious, powerful, and almost always involving a stage. But what if I make simple goals in the future? Never letting go of the illusive confetti filled balloon goals that make your heart soar, while acknowledging the truer, more stable goals of starting a consistent workout routine, writing that really hard letter, and accepting that you can’t control people are more life-giving and usually help you reach for those loftier confetti goals.
But really, making goals for the future makes me nervous, because it takes committment, consistency, and probably some grit. And I would much rather try to play ukulele and quit for the 3rd time. And even if you work really hard, you still going to have to ask other people for help, because sometimes you don’t have all the answers and you’re on a journey and five years down the road you’re going to look back nostalgically and think “those were the days…” and realize you really do like clichés .