It is winter and it’s cold, making my usual outdoor lunch excursions a thing of the past (at least for now – once temps hit 30 degrees I might venture back out there). As a full time editor it’s been difficult for me to schedule free time for personal writing and editing but I feel this quiet desk time might be a good place to start. And The Black Keys are playing in the background, so there’s that.
As usual, big life events have pushed me back to writing. In less than two months I’m moving and in four months I’m getting married. My near future is full of planning, packing and plotting – mostly concerning DIY projects I’d like to tackle with my fiancé (kitchen table, cushioned bench, container garden).
What I find remarkable is how much all of the lives around me are moving. I have an amazing core group of friends that are approximately my age and from similar backgrounds. My ladies have made big physical moves – one to Colorado, another to Hawaii. They have also made big life-moves – one recently got married. Yet another is applying for Doctorate programs. Several have started new jobs or begun to follow personal passions with full force. All are in a different place – physically and emotionally – from where I first met them.
When I take the time to reflect on how far we’ve come since graduating from college I’m floored by how much a person can change. Today I have a stronger, more vivid idea of what I want my future to look like. At the same time, I am also reaching a point where I am content with the fact that I will never know exactly where I will be tomorrow. And I have to be honest, my confidence in my own abilities is strengthened by my friends’ ability to fearlessly move forward – as well as send out nervous, late-night texts – when taking on completely new paths.
We are all of a generation and a social class that has been told that we can do anything and be anything that we want, that we can change the world. And sometimes that is incredibly daunting. And depressing. If we can truly do anything, our dissatisfaction with our current state of being is no one’s fault but our own. Our inability to be 25 year old geniuses is the result of our own hesitations. We are naturally hard on ourselves and forgiving of those we love most. I think that is why I am so empowered by my friends’ accomplishments. I see the professor in the nervous student applying to PhD programs. I see the nurturing mother in the worried woman figuring out when to start her family. I see the human rights activist, the powerful leader, the compassionate teacher, the beautiful artist. But often I also see myself – a young woman trying to fit everything in and figure everything out – a young woman who will define her own success. I owe much to these young women who remind me that taking on the world can be done with a small step as well as a giant leap, and who stick by my side when I am afraid and standing still.