‘I Don’t Know”s

People ask us all the time, what do you want to be? And they wait for answers as if it is a point on a map and all you have to do is draw a line between where you are now and where you want to be. What if you don’t really know where you want to be?

Sometimes, I imagine a globe. I would close my eyes and use the tips of my fingers to spin the atlas, as if some part of me would simply know when to put my finger down, and tell me where to go.

But this is simply a way to romanticize the idea of not knowing where you want to be ten years down the road. Because the reality is, it feels a little bit messy – a little bit chaotic – and sometimes a little bit lonely, to be completely unsure of where you see yourself in the future.

There are days I wish I had answers – where I envy the people who respond to the question without hesitation. I wonder how they figured it out. Perhaps I’ve become a bit behind schedule, but I don’t think so.

Because I thought that by 21 I would know what I want. But everything I thought I knew at 20, or 19, or whatever, has gone out the window and I’m not sure how many new layers I’ll shed by the time I’m 22. The years go by and we pick up pieces of ourselves along the way – others we lose.

One year ago if you had asked me where I wanted to be 10 years from now, I would have told you.

Married, I would have said.

This is not to say that I no longer want that, but it’s not the first thing that comes to mind when you ask the question. The first thing is that I don’t know, because I am under no obligation to know. And I think yesterday’s are made up of the person we were and every single tomorrow can change who we are and I don’t think I’m quite ready to have semi-permanent plan’s because I kind of like the liberty of reinventing myself on demand.

Perhaps this is why I have fallen madly in love with being on my own. There are no obligations – no prerequisites which say you need to be sure of yourself in at least some regard – because I’m really not that sure of myself sometimes. And I don’t mind. In fact, some day’s I kind of like it.

I like the way it feels to wake up on my own, and some nights I crave the way the bed sheets are the only things to wrap around me when I sleep. Other days I’m not even half of the independent person I want to be. And I fall asleep filled with envy. But I’m working on it, and I think that’s the point.

I think that’s exactly the point. We are works in progress – characterized by mistakes, some which are made so many times they become a choice, and I don’t think I’m ready to become a finished piece. I think I like the editing process, the rewording, and the scribbled out lines and the way my spine feels as I continue to build on it.

I am more afraid of deciding on a future too soon, than I am of answering loaded questions with shrugs and conversation changers. I am a work in progress, with a million and one spelling errors, a few bad decisions that I actually kind of like, and one day somebody is going to read me from my very first page.

But right now, I will enjoy the freedom that exists with being unfinished – with being on my own – and answering questions with very simple “I don’t know”’s.

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