I am gone quite mad with the knowledge of accepting the overwhelming number of things I can never know, places I can never go, and people I can never be. – Sylvia Plath
My fickleness stems from the fear of letting possibilities go. I often joke about the 7 times I’ve changed my college major because I couldn’t stand the thought of missing out on learning something or being limited in my potential vocations.
There are moments I want to mourn the fact that in choosing to study peacebuilidng and politics I can no longer become a doctor. It’s absurd. God knows I would hate being a doctor. Even I know I’d hate being a doctor, yet strangely enough I obtain this sense of loss when I know that by committing to a major it limits me from maybe one day being that doctor, or history teacher, or performer in Cirque du Soleil.
I mean, what if 10 years from now I want to be that doctor? What if one day miraculously science didn’t make me want to put my brain through a cheesegratter? What if God intended for me to be a surgeon and I’m supposed to help a bus load of children after a vicious automobile accident and by me choosing to study peacebuilding I will not save all those bloody kids. What if. what if. what if?!
To be who I want to be (which at this moment changes weekly) means I have to purge many beautiful futures- many potentially beautiful Katie Baks. I have to live with the fact that I am choosing to not be a doctor, or to not live in Mongolia, Turkey, or Yemen. I am denying myself the chance to study poetry at Cambridge or attend lectures on herbology in Thailand. Apparently, in my mind those are all things I need to mourn the loss of. But somewhere in there I get to actualize a very real, and very fulfilling future… (when I can make up my mind and actually commit to something.)
And of all the problems that I could possess, to have too many possibilities, too many futures and too many options is one I will gladly take on. Somehow in this mess, I hope I can commit to a path that will lead me to give other people the same problem of having too many books to read, too many places to see, and too many things to learn. And hopefully time, that unpredictable scoundrel, will give us an excess of that too.
Art by Beth Hoeckel.