I’ve been meaning to write a blog post for the last couple of weeks.
Who am I kidding? I’ve been meaning to blog for the last six months, but senior year was getting underway, I was writing my thesis, generally doing fun things, and I had to have my right eye removed. Yeah, that happened. It basically exploded. But that’s an entirely different story. More on that later. I promise.
So I finished first semester, finished a draft of my thesis (that’s the World War II Italy novella), had surgery and recovered from said surgery, and then I made a New Years resolution to resurrect this blog and try to blog on a semi-regular basis. I maybe set an alarm to go off on my phone once a week to remind me.
The reason I’ve been struggling with this post in particular is that I keep going back and forth about what tone I want to take, and the truth is, it’s not just about this blog post.
See, blogging is only one of my New Years resolutions. Actually going on Facebook and not just creepily lurking is another, and I’m doing pretty well with that. But the big one is that by the end of 2014, I will have received 200 rejection letters.
Don’t get me wrong: I do not want 200 rejection letters. If I get published before I reach 200, that’s great! Never mind! Mission accomplished!
The point is, over the past several months, I’ve been feeling pretty down about writing and submitting new stories. I mean, there’s only so many times you can hear that it’s so close, but no thank you, before you start to wonder. I’m watching my friends get published, and I’m glad for them—I really am. But I’m also hearing that everyone admires me so much for trying, but really, I’d rather be admired for succeeding. So I set a goal that I will have 200 rejections by the end of the year in order to force myself to write more and submit and keep trying, because if I stop trying because I feel like I’m failing, I will definitely have failed.
So I’m sitting here, and I want to say “this is the year!” I want to say this is the year that things are going to happen. I’m going to graduate, and I’m going to get a Fulbright and go to Italy or I’m going to get into graduate school. I’m going to get published this year, or win a competition, or maybe even get into Clarion. I’m going to read Lord of the Rings for the first time!
That’s what I want to say.
But at the same time, I’m sitting here, and I’m thinking about what my father has said about some of my brother’s musician friends: “You keep going up and up and up, but at some point, everybody stops. Everybody hits a peak, and they don’t go any higher than that.”
And I can’t help wondering, what if I’ve hit my peak? All my life, I’ve succeeded at whatever I set my mind to, but what if this is it? What if I don’t get the Fulbright or get into graduate school? What if I can’t get a job? What if I don’t ever get published and can’t succeed at writing? What then?
The truth is, in a little less than four months, I’m going to graduate and leave Kenyon, and I have no idea what I’m doing after that. I don’t even know what I want to do after that.
And that is terrifying.
And I’m not sure I know how to handle it.
All I can do is write about it, because right now, writing is just about the only thing I’m positive I can do.
Maybe I feel like this because it’s 12:30 in the morning and I just read a friend’s story about a girl who feels like a failure after graduation. Maybe I’m feeling like this because in less than two weeks, I’m going to hear whether I’ve moved onto the next level in the Fulbright application. Maybe it’s because I’ve never not had a plan. Probably, it’s a little of everything.
This is one of those things that I’m not totally sure I want to put out there on the internet, but I also think it’s something that needs to be said. Sometimes, we don’t know what we’re doing. Sometimes, the world just seems really big, and we’re really small, and somehow, we have to move through it without getting lost, and sometimes, we have no idea how to do that. Sometimes, optimistic gusto is just stupid, and we need to admit that we’re afraid.
And at the end of the day, even though I don’t know where I’m going, I still have to move forward. Eventually, I know I’ll end up where I’m supposed to be. Or at least I’ll end up somewhere.
And until then, I’m going to put one foot in front of the other, do my homework, have fun with my friends, enjoy my last semester at Kenyon. I’m going to go to Midnight Breakfast and try a smoothy from the KAC. I’m going to finish revising my thesis. I’m going to read Lord of the Rings and watch the original Star Wars trilogy for the first time. I’m going to write stories and submit them. I’m going to go on Facebook, and I’m going to blog. I’m going to play Pokemon on the big screen in the science quad.
I’m going to take things one day at a time, and I’m going to see what happens. Something will, and who knows? Maybe 2014 will be the year.