Daughter #2 is in her last round of finals and papers, unless grad school beckons down the road sometime. And she is dealing with the big question: What next? Damn that’s a big question.
I heard this essay for nervous seniors on NPR the other day. I like how this professor gives his pre-commencement address to his students in December instead of waiting until May when they are all stressed about the big question. I’m sure the timing doesn’t really matter, they will never understand until years down the road. Which is why I probably enjoyed the essay more than the daughter did.
But most of you out there are closer to my age than hers. What wouldn’t you give to have your adult life ahead of you? To be free to take a step down any path that you choose? Don’t get me wrong – I am very happy with my life just the way it turned out. But if I were 21 and responsibility-free and I could just TRY stuff? Why do we feel like everything has to have so much purpose, and the future someone has to be all planned out today. I dunno. Maybe some people do get left behind if they don’t jump into chosen careers within 30 days of graduation, but I doubt it.
D#2 knows she is lucky. She has family who love her. She has a soft place to land with us here in Houston. I understand that she doesn’t want to be landing, she wants to be flying. Someday she’ll look back and remember how awful that uncertainty felt. And someday she’ll look back and wish that her future still could be defined with the question, “what next?”