Expectations Are Hazardous

new york city skyline
Image courtesy of Megan Minutillo

A month ago, I was sitting on a couch in a Manhattan apartment, laptop splayed across my lap, fingers pecking away at the keyboard searching for any job listing that I sounded remotely qualified for. I would go out and get coffee with friends, Thai food from the restaurant across the street, and froyo a mere block away. I spent hours wandering around the 4-floor Barnes & Noble, sitting in Washington Square Park, and checking out the various paper goods stores within a 15-minute walk radius. I was a living a near dream.

And then the lease on the apartment ended. And none of those job applications had returned favorable prospects. And I packed up my summer New York life into one suitcase and caught a bus home. And after two-weeks of home life, I am now sitting in the same NYC Barnes & Noble between job interviews and wondering if that dream has changed completely or just become cloudy.

It’s hard to know what you want at any given moment. Especially when you’re 22, you’ve just graduated from college, and your day-to-day life is a whirlwind every time you turn around. It’s hard to wake up in the morning and say, with complete conviction, “This is what I’m searching for,” and point to it on life’s map of twisting turns.

If you had asked me what I wanted three months ago while I was wearing my cap and gown, I would have listed off the following, in no particular order: a cutely decorated apartment with my best friend; a full-time, entry level job in the publishing field; an unlimited MetroCard; and a prospective graduate program to apply for.

When I sleepily woke up this morning to catch the 6:30 Megabus back to the city I called home a month ago, a feeling of dread came over me, along with a longing to just stay curled up in bed with my cat. And then the uncomfortable thoughts came rushing in: do I really want to live in New York? Do I want to leave the neighborhood I’m so familiar with for a city where I barely know anyone? How badly will I miss driving the backroads of Pennsylvania, and hanging out with my mom everyday, and being able to get up and go to my friends houses whenever they call my cell phone?

Life presents us with unanswerable questions all the time, doesn’t it? Looking at all these SAT Prep books on the shelves in front of me, I’m wishing that one of them was the testing guide to “life’s little problems” and that I could flip straight to the answers in the back.

At the end of the day, I still don’t know what I want. I probably won’t know for sure in five years, either. It’s a beauty and a curse, an unlimited freedom and a frightening road block. And the most terrifyingly amazing thing about being so high up in the air? Everything will come crashing together, down into reality, at any given moment.

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4 thoughts on “Expectations Are Hazardous

  1. I’m 26 and I still don’t know what I want to do lol. I got a job in 2008 to pay the rent so that me and Chris could get our own place, 4 years later I’m still in the same job and still need to stay to cover bills etc. Don’t give up on your dream – whatever that might be. Come up with a plan – or at least a short term one that covers the next few months or years and aim high – don’t put your dreams in a box thinking you can’t achieve them – I think I do that too often.

  2. Cheers to Han’s comment. It’s true. You should talk to Claire (Biggs) about living in NY. She moved home, but I know she could give you the sense of what it was like. I’m a lot like her, I think, and hearing her talk about it made me realize I wasn’t ready, but maybe you are. Who knows. I hope the world leads you somewhere and you learn how to deal then. It’s hard, coming from someone who moved away the week after graduation, but it’s such a big bold experience.

    1. Living there for about two months this summer was a lot of fun, but just made me realize some things about the future that I didn’t think of before, you know? I’m dying to chat with Claire, though, especially after reading her blog; she seems like a person I could definitely connect with.

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