My sister and I were talking the other day about where we might be five years from now. Five years?! That doesn’t even seem that far away, and yet a lot can happen in just a year, let alone five. I feel this is a topic that often comes up at family gatherings or late night drunk chats with friends, even interviews! What is our obsession with knowing the future? And why am I more scared of it than ever?
Having lived out of a backpack for six months and not knowing where I was going to be week-to-week, I thought I had embraced the spontaneous life, the life of not knowing. And although I had in a way, I still knew that to travel was the plan. I might not have known where or when exactly, but I knew my loose plan was to travel for a year. With the sudden spread of coronavirus however, which has thrown the whole world out of whack, my ‘plan’ has been cut short, leaving me a little stumped.
Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely appreciative of the time I did have away, and know I was incredibly lucky to have it. Saying this, I don’t think the fact that my travels have ended is the whole reason for why I feel weird when my thoughts drift towards the future (which seems to be happening a lot lately). I think it stems more from the fact that, for the first time in forever, I have no security. That’s not to say I’m out living on the streets – my parents aren’t tired of me just yet – I mean I have no structured institution to rely on for once. For the last three years I’ve been at university, and the two years before that I was at sixth form, and the five years before that I was at high school (you get my gist). Now, however, I have nothing, and that feels weird. When lockdown does come to an end and we slowly start getting back to normal life, there will be nothing for me to go back to. I really don’t want this to come across as a ‘pity me’ post, as it’s not like that. I just find this odd limbo stage of graduate life really strange, so I thought I’d share.
In short, the future scares me because I honestly have no idea what I’ll be doing a few months down the line, let alone five years. This is not to say I don’t have dreams and aspirations, just that the decisions I do make from this point on feel more important than any I’ve made in the past. It’s both freeing and nerve-racking, exciting and terrifying.
I’m sure I’m not alone in these feelings, hence why I thought I’d get them down and get them out. Am I on the right life path? Should I be starting a career instead of planning my next travel adventure? Coronavirus, of course, doesn’t help with this strange limbo state, but I wanted to know if it’s making anyone else feel reflective? If so, then take some comfort in this: for the first time in our lives there is no time pressure forcing us into making a decision. Rather than seeing our isolation and social distancing as something that is holding us back, we should try to embrace it as a period of opportunity. It allows us to pause and look at our options, think about what we really enjoy and what we actually want to do when all this isolation is over.
The future is never known, and being a graduate in a global pandemic doesn’t change that.
Well, there you are, a happy, lighthearted blog post for a Monday (not). Hope you’ve had a good start to your week!