Friday, September 4, 2009

Thoughts at 37,000 Feet

If I could rename this blog, or give a name to the theme of my 20-somethings, I think it would go something like this:

"What? Where? With whom?"

I think those three interrogatives may just sum up life's purpose in an umbrella sort of way. As in all of our side diversions, escapades, romances, obstacles, failures, hopes, quiet dreams, distractions, plans, unrealized efforts - all directly or indirectly lead us to the answer of one of those questions. I think we could all agree that the culmination of life would be to find oneself with solid answers to those three big questions. Or would it?

Undoubtedly, at 24, "what," "where" and "with whom" are popping up in my thoughts more often. The same could be said for every one of my female acquaintances. Some of them have already begun the process of chalking in their answers.

What will you do with your life?
To what end will you give your energy and passion?
Where will you call home?
With whom will you make a home?
With whom will you spend your life?
What is home?

I can tell you this much: I know the answer to not a single one of the above-listed "w" questions. A couple of shadowy ideas, but it boils down to three big, often obnoxious and hovering, question marks. It can be admittedly frustrating at times, even defeating, as I watch most of my friends rejoice in light bulb moments of discovering their answers.

However, as I fly over continents to reach Buenos Aires and reflect on some of the big lessons learned in the last couple of years, I can't help but think those question marks are a personal blessing and that knowing the answer to even one of them would be wrong at this point in my life. On this plane, in this moment, life is one freshly-printed, blank page. My story could turn out so many different ways that no mathematical formula or psychological evaluation could predict what life will show me in the next year or what shades of color will end up on my page. I have no idea where I will be a year from now, what I will be doing, or if there will be a love interest. Faced with nothing but a future of unknowns, I am forced to live right now. Nothing more. And that feels amazing.

And really, if the high point of life lies in feeling like I have secured mostly solid (because life will never be without uncertainty) answers to the what, where and who, then I don't want it to come anytime soon. I am absolutely convinced that the adventure of life is found in the search. A search that will likely take me all around the world and through a handful of different lifestyles. A search that will take me up and down, high and low, but never stagnant for very long. A search that will show me how big life could be and how mysterious our existence is.

Besides, once I get it all - the boy, the "home," the dream job - what's left to do? Sure, I will enjoy it for a good bit of time, but doesn't everything get a tad dull after awhile? Perhaps it's just my eternally restless spirit, but I wonder:

Once you have it all, then what?

That question has convinced me to change my mind about the search. I am 24 years old. If I had all the answers tomorrow, I would be bored by 30! If I had all the answers next year, I would miss out on so many opportunities for fulfillment and satisfaction that come alongside the search.

Sure, the boy would be great to have. Yes, yes, yes, I would like to rest my head on someone's shoulder at the end of the day - figuratively and literally. But I have learned SO much due to loneliness. When it is just me every single day, when I am all I have, when there is no one to call to say goodnight and I still manage to find contentment, I am fulfilled in a way like no significant other could provide. Yes, I'd like to have a home-ish thing some day, but in searching for it I have felt at home in ten different countries. Of course I'd like to have a job I love, but until I decide what that is I'll just keep trying new things, teaching myself, pushing myself, reaching higher, dreaming bigger.

Which is better? The search or the answers?

There is one "w" that I am sure of. When. When will I know the answer to "what", "where" and "who"? Not anytime soon. I am having too much fun searching.

No comments: