Sunday, July 27, 2008

tears in my glass.

I watched the sun set, with a glass of Pinot Grigio in hand, wearing naught but a white bikini, and listening to Meshell Ndegeocello, "Beautiful". Romantic as it was, it was not perfect - I'm nursing a sunburn from a day in the sun, and I still display the remains of a black eye obtained during my first attempt at surfing. However, it was an incredible few moments, and I reflected on my weekend, friendships, and plans for the future.

I spent this weekend visiting with two of the most incredible people I've ever known.. two great friends from high school that I admire, trust, and look up to. They decided on the spur of the moment to come and visit, and I accepted with open arms. We ate out, spent some time at the beach, played some games with friends, and had the opportunity to talk about lots of different issues.

Of the various topics we covered in our brief stint together were two topics I'd like to address: being single, and plans for the future.

All three of us are single, and happily so. Granted we all have our moments where it would be great to have someone, in general, we are all content with our lives. I realized in talking with them that it is much easier to live in the moment when you're not concerned about a significant other. Even in the most fabulous relationships, being in a relationship requires giving of oneself. It requires compromise, communication, unconditional love, trust, and sacrifice. These are excellent qualities to have and share, but not ones that I am willing to work on at this point in time.. at least not in the context of a romantic relationship. With others, sure. As a 21-year-old university student, I am content with saying that I am happy and fulfilled not being in a romantic relationship!

Secondly, all three of us are entering our 4th year of university, and with that comes the inevitable question - "What are you planning on doing after you graduate?" Not one single day goes by lately that I don't think about that question.

As innocent as this question may seem, it is a loaded question. With it comes judgment; there is a stigma attached to this question, that if I lack a plan, I am not driven, not capable of handling "real life", or not goal-oriented enough to survive in today's corporate society. Perhaps, I have self-imposed this stigma.. maybe, somewhere deep inside, I feel like a failure if I fail to move on to the next step of the expected path I am to follow.

That being said.. what is my expected path? In high school, it was easy - I was the good kid, the nerdy kid who always brought home As and aced everything. I didn't party, I went to church every Sunday, and I hung out with the "right" people.

At this point in my life, the majority of expectations on my life are imposed by two groups of people: professors (who, while wonderful and intelligent in their own right) who don't really know me.. and by myself.

As unsure as I am about what I would like to do academically and professionally, I know one thing for certain: I need to travel. It's not even a question any more. It's a need within me to get out, to learn about new cultures and to explore the unknown.

If I can shake this concept that I am a failure if I don't go to grad school, or start at a job right after graduation, if I can figure out a way to stand up tall and proud when people ask me what my plans are after graduation, and say, "I am traveling!" and be proud of my decision, then I will be on the right path. My path, the path that I, with my God-given brain and intelligence, have chosen. It's not a life plan.. that's ridiculous, I can't plan my life all in on go! I'm not "taking a year off" to travel, or to "find myself" - although I hope to engage in both of those things - I'm not imposing a time limit on this, because who's to say how long it will be?

"What do we do now?"