I’m at the point in my life where everyone is asking me what my next step is. Everyone wants to know what I’m going to do with myself. I keep getting asked about college. I keep getting asked about writing. I keep getting asked about where I’m going to live. I keep getting asked…
I don’t know if I’m going to go to college. I’m not sure if that’s the right place for me. If I did go, I’d have to start small, and then move somewhere bigger. I’d also have to stay close to home; I don’t want to be home anymore. I’m sick of home. I’m sitting here writing this in Washington, all the way across the country, thinking about how I have to get up in five hours to fly home. I want to hide somewhere and not come out until I’m sure my mom has gone already. I don’t want to go home.
My great-grandparents are currently living out the last leg of their lives. They’ve lived incredible lives. Living on the opposite side of the country, I never got to see them very often. But the times that I have, I will remember forever. The other day great-grandpa asked me what my plans were. I told him that I wasn’t quite sure, but I knew I wanted to write and travel. My ultimate goal was to be happy. He said something I’ll never forget:
Live as long as you can, and live as high on happiness as you can— to hell with the rest of them.
That sentence has been running through my head nonstop for the past few days. He repeatedly told mom and I that he lived a fantastic life. He had dreams, and he made them a reality.
My great-grandma asked me the same question, so I gave her the same answer. She told me it didn’t matter what anyone else thought, that I needed to fight for my happiness. I promised both of them that I always would.
The one thing that everyone, including my great-grandparents, keeps saying to me is: you’re young, you have time.
I can’t help but finding myself disagreeing with them. Sure, I have time. But what is time? If you want to get technical— time isn’t even real. There’s day and night, and what we make of the constant ups and downs. So who is to decide how much time I really have as an 18-year-old?
I see everyone my age knowing automatically that they are simply going to college, or not going to college. Kids who can’t afford it, or they just don’t want to. Kids who are being forced by parents, or they genuinely have an interest.
I notice that the majority of them see the world as black and white— I see the world in color. I see all the hundreds of different directions I could go, and things I could see or do.
So, I say I want to write. Everyone asks, “Well how are you going to write if you don’t have a career?” or, “How are you going to support yourself if you don’t go to college?” The stubbornness in me says, screw that. I can make my own path, I always have. But the other side tells me that there may be some truth to those words. Maybe I should go to college for four years, get it done and over with— and then I can come out and live my life however the hell I want, always knowing I have a degree to fall back on. But that’s FOUR years of my life spent doing something I don’t really want to be doing. That’s four years spent trapped somewhere I don’t want to be anymore.
When I tell people my concerns about not knowing what I’m going to do yet, it’s always, “Oh, you’re young, you have time.”
This trip out to Washington with my mom, seeing my great-grandparents makes me question how much time we actually do have. And how much can we do with the time we are given? So, if I know I want to write, and travel, and live. And I know that I can live simply. I don’t need anything but a bed, and a computer, and a bank to save my money. I don’t need any kind of royalties other than having enough money saved to travel. I’m questioning whether I should just jump, knowing that I don’t have a safety net to catch me.
I know 93-years is an extremely long time. Not everyone gets even close to 93-years like my great-grandparents have. This trip has opened my eyes to the concept of time. What will I do with my time here on this earth? What will you do with yours?
It all almost seems sorta stupid when you look at it a certain way. We are all growing up just to wake up everyday, in order to pay bills. We aren’t growing up to be happy. We are simply following the invisible rulebook that’s drilled into our heads from the time we are born. It shouldn’t be that way. I plan on living my life in rebellion to that way of thinking.
Doing things that will only give me a higher chance of ultimate happiness is what I’ll spend my time and energy on. So now I must decide for myself if that’s college, or if that’s writing and traveling with little side jobs to support me.
The answer will come to me. The answer always has a way of finding us when we least expect it. But don’t just sit still and wait for the answer. If you don’t find it at the right time, make a decision and go with it. I promise you, soon enough you will know if it was the right choice. Life’s about taking risks and doing everything you can to better yourself, others, and the world. Take the time you’re given, and do your part.