A late night ramble.
They made it sound easy through all the tears and muddled congratulations. Parties were thrown and cards were given telling me all the tales that my life would hold. The world was at my feet they said. Life before me with a merry greeting just waiting to see what I would do next. Gosh it sounded so romantic at the time.
I was 18 and had just graduated high school – I remember what I felt like it was yesterday. The deep hope and vivid imagination that unpacks brilliance in a series of vibrant daydreams. Slideshows flew through my head of love, foreign countries and legendary adventures. Like life was gonna be one big road trip.
Then I started college. Suddenly I was faced with a million decisions. What was I gonna do? Who would I date? What were the goals and next steps? I went into college as a neuroscience major and left with a degree in political science. If I had no respect for reality, I would still be there racking up degrees. ‘Cause its hard to rule things out. How can I be a modern-day version of Julia Roberts in Mona Lisa’s Smile without an art degree?
But that’s just it. I will never be an art professor. I will never be a lawyer or doctor. Not a historian featured on documentaries. The Food Network will never make a pilot episode for me and medical school? That ship sailed long ago. My life isn’t big enough to hold each single dream the way I see it this side of heaven.
Maybe I can be whatever I want, but I can never be everything I want.
At some point I had to choose.
Telling me that the world is at my feet does me no good if I don’t know how to walk. Opportunity means nothing without vision and purpose that point these little toes in the right direction. Even now I can easily lose track of where it is that I am supposed to be going.
There are hundreds of adventures in life that vie for my time. From dreams to careers to families. Some days I totally sit unsure of what move to make. What if I make the wrong choice. To say “yes” to something requires a “no” to another thing. Juggling all the bits works for a while but then my hands cramp and I let it all fall apart like a teenage romance. Good for a while, but it could never last.
I struggle with what I assume most other millennials do as well. Endless opportunities and options from growing up in an online world. Constantly reinforced with the idea that my destiny is hyper-individualized and my path can lead me anywhere. Except I don’t quite know where to head at times.
Options are like currency for us. The more we have the richer our lives feel.
At the drop of a hat, we could pull out and jump onboard with something better. Switch paths based on the most photogenic for an Instagram post. Our online audience needs us to keep things interesting. No sleep till Brooklyn as they say.
So many adventures call our names. Noble ones with a strong sense of duty behind them. Hilarious escapades that generate countless hashtags of inside jokes. Adventures that seem to fit like a glove for one hand but don’t come with a match for the other. Which are we to follow?
A dreamers dilemma.
A million places I’d like to go, but no certain guidance. That’s the problem with options I suppose. And while I am thankful to have the privilege of so many choices, I have recognized that what I am after isn’t really choices at all.
What I crave is consistency. A sense of mission that follows me through each choice and helps me navigate this war of 100 adventures. ‘Cause they are fighting for my time, attention and committment. Try as I might, I can’t live them all.
I can’t tell you which adventure to choose, which calling to obey, or dream to pursue. I do know that in the noise of the process and the ideas that heckle you when you put them down – I do know that there is a hand we can hold.
The hand of the One who is prompting us to step out in the first place. It’s okay if we slip up and don’t get it right the first time. There is more Grace than we know for the decisions we navigate.
In the war of 100 adventures not all dreams make it out alive. And that is how we live. How we live the things we are meant to. A courage to stop being afraid of missing out, of not picking the attractive thing, or worrying that none are the right fit. We hold the hand of the One who guides us and trust that close to him is where we are to be.
And He will guide us. Like He always has.
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