So many things all at once

Okay, if you’re still waiting on those “what to bring on long trips” posts, you’ll have to wait a little longer. The past is not on my mind as much as the future these days, so that’s what I’m going to write about right now.

You see, I’m currently living a life of routine, like most other “adult” people. I’m still adapting, but I’m learning to love the morning drives to work, the water cooler laughs, the constant caffeination, the soundtrack of keyboard clicks, the lunchtimes spent watching Price is Right, and the days spent using my passion for writing towards something “legitimate.”

Part of that routine I’ve become so used to involves driving home at 5pm amidst the other rat racers and spending my nights doing, well, not much. Sure, there’s the almighty Internet, some trashy reality shows, my cuddly cats and all that jazz, but the 5-7 (depending on how dangerous I’m feeling) hours after work of so-called freedom can be, well, boring.

That’s where the planning comes in.

If you know me well, you know that I have always spent a lot of time pondering and plotting my future. I planned my month-long trip to Europe in 2009 for about 4 years, and immediately after that I began sorting out the details of my 2011 round-the-world trip. Basically, I’ve spent the last 6 years of my life playing the role of a travel agent, without the pay. That may sound unfortunate, but it also happens to be the reason why I’ve experienced and learned so much from travel. I’ve researched just about every country in the world, and while I may not know every capital city, I can probably  name the best hostel in the country or the cheapest month to visit.

Exactly one month ago I was in Hawaii, 3 days away from flying back to my home. I was anxious, excited, happy, and at peace. I had accomplished what I set out to do and enjoyed every minute of it (okay, maybe not every minute). Fast forward 31 days, and I’m still all of those things, but this time it’s for a different reason.

I know, I know, being a recent grad is hard blah blah blah, but it’s also a time of reflection of seemingly endless possibilities. It’s a perfect time for simmering the juices of desire (how’s that for a meaty metaphor) and deciding on the direction of this so-called life. It’s a time when daydreams of future lives change daily, each involving more debt than the last (or maybe that’s just me).

Sitting on my couch 19 days ago, I decided that I was going to go to graduate school in New York City. I drove to Chapters, found the books about the GRE ($40 for a book! math? MATH!) and got a queasy feeling. Did I want to spend over a year at a school that my dad called “sketchy”?

Two days later, I switched my plan, this time setting my sights on Washington, D.C. Five days after that I researched just how much my monthly student loan repayment would be, and I started to question my reasoning for taking the plunge into higher education (again).

Six days later I was perusing Craigslist listings for New York City apartments, calculating how many jobs I would have to take to move to one of the most expensive cities in the world. Could I get a job in a place full of competitive overachievers with degrees from recognizable American schools? Would potential bosses even know where Ottawa is? Would they see my experience as that of a small-town Canuck? Would they ponder the fact that  my months spent travelling could point to a flighty twenty-something? Would I even be able to get an apartment? Could I move to a city where I know approximately zero people?

So many questions. So many insecurities. So many things all at once.

At the moment, here’s the plan:

a) Move to New York City in September. Sublet an apartment for 2 months. Apply for every job in NYC that involves writing for pay. Network incessantly. Make friends. Find a reason to stay. If that fails…

b) Move to San Francisco. Apply for every job in California that involves writing for pay. If that fails…choose between c) or d)

c) Move to Washington D.C. and enroll in graduate school. Go into debt. Be a poor student again. Intern at national/international organizations. Network incessantly. Find a job to love. Be okay with staying in one place.

d) Hibernate at childhood home. Apply for every communications job on the planet (with a focus on North America). Find a job to love. Be okay with staying in one place.

It’s Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 8:23pm. At this moment, this is what my future looks like. I don’t know if it will change and I don’t know if it will work out (though if it takes me over 5 months to find a job, well, Houston we have a problem). I do know that I’m going to research every aspect of this plan for 5-7 hours a night, 5 days a week until September. That is, unless I decide I want to screw it all and move to France. I think I’ll save that for my mid-life crisis though.

Reading about someone else’s future plans is often as boring as hearing about their nightly dreams, I know, but I think part of the reason I’m writing these dreams down is because I want them to happen. I want to succumb to self pressure. I want to make my plans a reality. I’ve done it before, and I’m going to try and do it again.

The best part? If I try and fail, my 80-year-old self will still be proud. Why? Well, because she’s one cool cat lady who knows that youth is for trying, for failing, for picking yourself back up and shooting for your own version of the stars over and over again.

As for me, my version of the stars look an awful lot like the Empire State Building, for now anyway. Off to Craigslist I go.

One Response to “So many things all at once”
  1. Peter Ferguson says:

    Reading about your plans couldn’t be further from boring. Quite exciting actually. It makes me feel much better about constantly creating “options” for myself as far as the future goes. Happy Friday!

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