“Well kids, it was, perhaps, the most exciting time in my life.”
That’s what I hope to be saying 40 years from now at the not-so-old age of 62 to a pair of entranced grand kids perched upon each one of my knees. Despite living at home at the moment, back in the same twin bed that I have slept in since I was twelve, in the same 10 x 10 ft creme-colored room with the old turquoise carpet that a smaller version of my sister had once thought was the best color to carpet a room, life could not be more open or more inviting than it is presently.
Free of children, of significant debt, and of any crippling or debilitating diseases that may come with old age, I would say that there is nothing really to worry about. In fact, there is everything to be excited for. Are your legs strong enough for a hike on the Pacific Crest Trail or around Europe? If not, you can still look out at the Grand Canyon and marvel at how something so vast had formed. Do you have the ability to learn a new language, French, German, Italian, and experience another culture? What about all of the great books that you could read, the knowledge that you could absorb, the paintings that you could create, the walks that you could take, the nights that you could spend mastering a new recipe and sharing a meal with parents and friends. What about all of these things?
Yes. You can do it, all of it. As overwhelming as college debt and the prospect of finding a job may feel, one that will be fulfilling, rewarding, and satisfying, it is important to remember the degree of control we possess over the lives that we choose to live. You can always go back to school; you can always change your career path; you can find a way to move somewhere more interesting than where you’re living; you can become a great writer, painter, oboist, spelunker. If someone tells you that you can’t do those things, that you shouldn’t change careers because it’s too late, listen to what you want rather than letting your life be ruled by obligations, the shoulds.
So, plan accordingly. Want to move to Colorado? Then figure out how much it will cost you to get out there and utilize all of your connections and resources to see if you can’t find a job. Set goals, and smaller goals within those goals. Make lists. Create a vision board. Frame the cutout from National Geographic that stirs something in you, if only slightly. The feeling will grow the more attention you give it. For all of the soon-to-be college graduates and graduates out there, or anyone who seems as if their life has stopped moving, that they have stopped growing, this is the most exciting time in your life! Whether you’re married or single, debt-free or bursting with repayment, young, old, whatever, this is it. I realize as I am writing this that the focus of this entry has changed.
The most exciting time in your life could be now if you choose to make it so.