What’s Next?

What’s Next?

I used to think that everything was predestined. That the “he,” “she,” or “other” who is sitting atop the clouds in the big, blue sky had everything already sorted out for us. That they had a plan, and whatever decisions we made, we made them in a way that would lead us to exactly where we’re suppose to fit into that plan. That every decision would be the right decision, no matter what we chose.

Now, I’m realizing that life’s plans don’t always come tied up in a pretty, little bow.

I’ve been sitting at a crossroad in my life, unable to answer the infamous question, “what’s next?” It’s the first thing people want to ask me and every time I must regretfully and stoically respond with the most frightening of phrases known to any 20-something-year-old: “I don’t know.”

The real adults seem to agree that this is the most exciting time of our lives  —  no responsibilities, nothing tying us down, with an abundance of opportunities that are ours for the taking. But, as the ones in the thick of it, we know this unknown for what it truly is: fucking terrifying.

Choosing which path to venture down next is seemingly impossible. It’s like I’m standing in a train station looking up at the timetable that looms over busy passengers, as whistles are blowing and everyone is trying desperately to reach their destinations. I stare up, realizing I haven’t settled on my own yet. The clock ticks by, the doors begin to close. I have all these places to be, with no idea which one to choose next, afraid I might lose the choice altogether.

Do I try and settle down? Return to places, people and responsibilities I have long left and start on the trajectory that the rest of my peers are headed towards?

Do I move on to new places, new faces, building upon my experiences and polishing off my resume? Maybe go back to a life of higher education?

Or should I quit this rat race, become a nomad, travel the world and experience new cultures while I remain unattached?

This is truly the first moment in my life where I’m looking forward at endless possibilities. I can, quite literally, do whatever I want and be whoever I want. This is one pivotal moment of many pivotal moments to come.

Before now, there have always been expectations and stepping stones that needed to be carried out before we really got the freedom to choose for ourselves. But now, at the end of education and the beginning of independence, we finally get to have a say.

So which way will it be? How do we make the right choice and move forward?

The honest, most irritating answer is the one spewed for decades: there is no right choice. We spend so much time thinking about all of the outcomes, all of the different scenarios and risks of choosing the wrong path. We’re wrestling with a little monster fuming inside of us, doubting us, thinking we can’t make the right decision and fearing that we will become lost if we choose poorly. But, what many of us seem to forget is there is no right choice. Really. There is no right decision.

There is no right way to live a life.

What’s right for one person, will not be right for another and their timing will never equate to yours. You will, undoubtedly, have to sacrifice something awesome to gain something equally as awesome. There will always be a price to pay for whichever direction you choose. You’ll get independence for dependability, wanderlust for security, and spontaneity for comfort, but none of these options are the right options; they’re just options.

What’s important to remember when you’ve come to a crossroad is, at the end of the day, it’s only a choice. We make choices every day, and will deviate from these choices and choose something different when they no longer serve our purpose. It’s important to trust that you will make the best decision for you and give yourself time to adjust to this change.

A choice becomes right as soon as you choose it full-heartedly, simply because you’ve chosen it for yourself.

No matter which doors open and close in this lifetime, you are always learning, you are always changing, and you will forever go from experience to experience. You will choose a path that will lead to another path, and another, and another. Some paths will loop around and find you again, while others may present themselves to you in a totally different light. Some won’t even be given a second thought once you’ve left them behind. But no path ever ceases to exist as long as you allow it to be.

These crossroads, they’re only changes. Changes that will transform and validate you, and ones that will add to the majestic being that is you. In the grand scheme of things, it won’t make any difference which choices end up being next, so long as you’re open to explore them all.

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