As a 24 year old, sometimes I get the feeling that these things I do, the decisions that I make… they’re dictating my future far more than any other time period in my life has. The people who I call my friends. The place I decide to work. The person I decide to be everyday.
Are any of you completely FREAKED out by this? I have a secret, it scares the crap out of me sometimes.
This is the first time I have ever lived alone. The first time I have been in a new place as “an adult”, meaning I didn’t move here to be in school. Being in school is completely different in terms of experiencing new places. You are basically thrust into a group of people– a dorm, a graduate school cohort– who are comprised of people who may be vastly different but are in the exact same place you are. It’s all so new, this freedom and responsibility… and knowing that this is it. This is my life, and now I get to make of it what I will.
Moving here, there wasn’t the safety net. And I decided things. Joined things… and I know, already, that they will be considered turning points in my life when I am old and grey. Joining the Junior League, for example… life changing. Not yet perhaps, but it will be. It will be something that defines me.
Here’s the thing. I don’t want to screw it up. I don’t want to be 34 and not like the person I am. I don’t think I will dislike the person I am, but that thought it always in my head. I think it generally is really beneficial. It forces me to really think about the kind of person I want to be– do I want to get into a career that makes boatloads of cash? or do I want to be somewhere where I am challenged, appreciated, and may not make as much? What kind of friend do I want to be? And what standards should I have for the people I call my friends?
I just love it, because it really captures all the questions I’ve had as I become who I am going to be…
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
I want to know if you can
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.