Wednesday, January 09, 2013

What's next? How about NOW?

When you're in your twenties, it seems like people expect you to answer a lot of questions about your future. I thought it would end when I graduated from college and got an internship, then a job, but it continues.

"So, are you going to stay at this job? What's next?"

I find it fascinating that so soon after I have found one thing, I am checked up on to see if I am going to stick with it. It feels like the last six years have been a series of "What's next?" questions.  

Where are you applying to college? 
Where are you going to college? 
Have you chosen your major yet? 
Are you studying abroad? 
What are you going to do after you graduate?

(Then there's the ever-popular Are you seeing anyone? and Are you engaged yet? Do guys get that, too? Because girls get it overandoverandoverandover...)
And even now, three years after I got my college diploma... What's next?

Self-portrait reflected in my tea kettle, 2011, as I was figuring this new life out.
Granted, these questions normally come from wonderfully caring and well-meaning friends, and it's a great thing that they want to know about my life and work. I'm honored by it, and want to talk to them. But too often I feel like I get defensive at the What's next? question, especially now. I've built myself a new life after college, which hasn't felt like the easiest item to check off the to-do list (embarrassingly late shout out: thanks, God, for being you and for putting such great friends and mentors in my path). I'm employed at a job I deeply enjoy, with people I love. I have a city map burned on my brain, which I couldn't even boast in my childhood. I have taken opportunities, had adventures and found new friends and fallen in love. Even going to the grocery store and fixing dinner, drudges that they can be after 9-5 work and a spin class, feel like victories and beauties (sometimes mainly after I've finished eating, but whatever). Wiping down the counter and hearing the dishwasher hum as it scrubs away remains of a meal that I made is such great satisfaction.

So when I hear What's next? I always think... How about NOW? This life that I have made for myself, these moments? 

I know there is a What's next? and someday it will show itself. And I'll be glad to share it. But for now, I think I'll drop my defensiveness, smile, and say, I'm really happy now.

1 comment:

Ann K said...

Good words for all of us...from someone who has probably asked you 'what's next' way too much! :)