There comes a time in a person’s life when he has to start thinking about the future. I’ve been putting that day off for a long time. Commitment is a scary notion. Something may seem great today, but it’s tough to imagine how one decision can shape someone’s life one week, six months, or even twenty years in the future.
Since I was a child, I’ve always been encouraged to diversify my interests and try new things. As much as I would’ve liked to play baseball every day as a ten-year-old, my father was insistent that I play piano a couple times a week as well. Likewise, for every hour of television that I watched, I had better spend an hour with a book in my hands. At the time it was difficult for me to understand that I might not want to invest all of my time and energy in becoming a professional athlete. Admittedly, by my freshman year of high school it was evident that I’d be making a living with my mind, not my body.
Nevertheless, as I’ve moved through my years in school, I have yet to identify what my future goals are. As my peers declare their majors, and talk of their futures as doctors and investment bankers, I haven’t the slightest idea of what I want to do. I’ve completed the requirements for the Business School, but as the application deadline approaches, even that path seems intimidating. My brain tells me that an education in business will open a lot of doors, but my heart reminds me that once I go down that road it will close quite a few as well.
The truth is, I love being undeclared. I love the idea that I could go into class tomorrow and hear something that changes my outlook forever. There’s no need to worry about what I’ll do next because I’ll find it eventually (I always do). Yet, my fear today is that for once in my life the solution isn’t just going to come to me.
So why the sudden concern over the beginning of the rest of my life? A couple of weeks ago I saw a film called The Spectacular Now. It tells the story of a senior in high school who is the king of living in the moment. Much like myself, he was in the midst of making several decisions that were sure to shape the rest of his life, but he somehow managed to keep putting them off. It is only after much hardship and near tragedy that he realizes that it’s finally time to grow up and start thinking about the future. Needless to say, I highly recommend the movie; the story is bittersweet, but it’s definitely opened my eyes to the world around me.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that if Freaks and Geeks taught me to live life dangerously—after all you only live once, The Spectacular Now has had the opposite effect. In the end, it’s true…you only live once, and that’s exactly why it’s about time that I start weighing how much I’m going to sacrifice tomorrow against having a little bit of fun today.