So much of who you are changes as you grow up. I remember the night of my graduation being scared to death that I was going to lose myself throughout the “growing up” process. I had become so satisfied with who I was that I didn’t want anything about me to change. But now, almost two whole years later, I’ve changed in a million and one different ways, but only for the better.
At that age, I thought I had all the perfect plans made out for my life. I had a checklist of goals, dreams, and ambitions that I sought to accomplish during my lifetime. When comparing that list with the one I have now, nothing about it is the same. Again, it has all changed, but only for the better.
Today, I was reading a piece titled, “The Novel in Africa” in The Norton Anthology of World Literature for one of my literature classes. There was a specific quote that was said by the main character that really got me thinking. She says, “What is the future after all, but a structure of hopes and expectations? Its residence is in the mind; it has no reality.” I paused and re-read it over twice. The truth behind that single quote hit me like a bat against a baseball for a grand slam in the 9th inning. I almost felt like the breath was knocked out of me. The realization that all that the future really is, is just the hopes and expectations we have for ourselves. In simpler terms, the future truly is whatever we want it to be.
I thought so long and hard about this one concept because of the absolute fulfillment that it brought to me.
Lately, my dreams have turned from the realistic idea of settling in a small town, teaching at the local college, having an average size family, and living a normal life to the outrageous ambition to conquer the world, impact our culture through the presentation of beneficial truths, reside in a home that obtains a majestic view of the big city surrounding it, and spend my entire day writing with the goal of changing the mind’s of every person in our society. When explaining this to other people, the common response is, “What?! Are you serious? Don’t you think that might be impossible?” To which I always respond with a glare, pierced lips, and one word: "No."… (I mean, what else are you supposed to do/say when someone tells you that the plans you have for your life are impossible?) The concept of “The Future” is such a widely abstract one that many people tend to be scared of it. It is a direct representation of how people view themselves because of its ability to reveal what a person believes they, as an individual, are capable of accomplishing. However, it is also something that people do not think they have control over. It is something that they think is unattainable. Or that it isn’t real until it is sitting directly in front of them. But to me, the future is not something I am willing to avoid, but rather I seek to find the courage to explore all regions of it until it becomes my reality. If the future is just “a structure of hopes and expectations” that solely resides within my mind, then what is there really to be afraid of?