The future has always been a little scary for me. I’m a worrier and I don’t like surprises. What’s going to happen tomorrow, next year, 10 years down the line? Over time, it’s become clear that as much as I hate it, I have little control over the path my life will take. Despite the plans I make, there always seems to be an unexpected turn of events. Living in a city as unpredictable as New York definitely plays a part in this uncertainty. I surely couldn’t have predicted the life I have now at 26 when I was 18. Still, one of my favorite games is asking Cole how he sees our lives when we have kids or when we’re old, something he has little patience for. He’s more of a live for the moment kind of guy, and even after three years together, his style has yet to wear off on me.
Despite myself, I have learned to give up some control. Even though I spend what could be an unhealthy amount of time thinking about what my future self will be like, I’ve learned to roll with the punches. Sure, I don’t have the fast paced life of an independent filmmaker that I envisioned as a young lady moving to the big city to make her dreams come true. On both a professional and personal level, the reality of my life is even better than I could have imagined then. While working toward becoming a filmmaker, I became frustrated at the lack of progress I was making. Slowly, I found myself becoming a writer and shifted my professional focus into education, which feels like a better fit. While I was never worried about finding someone to marry, it did take me by surprise that it will be happening so soon.
If it were possible, I’d go back in time and tell my younger self to not fret about things that I had no way of controlling. Since I can’t do that, I can only hope others will learn from my years of pointless worrying. That’s not to say a little bit of concern for the future is unhealthy. I wouldn’t suggest emptying your bank account or screwing your way through the bar scene, hoping everything will work itself out. There will always be consequences for your actions. Continue to work hard toward your goals. Many people living in cities are there for career opportunities. However, it’s all too easy to become disheartened while looking for that dream job. Sure, living in a city can offer you opportunities the suburbs can’t, but they can also pit you against many eager applicants, just as qualified as you. Put yourself out there. Keep interviewing for jobs. You might not get a call back for the first 100, but interview 101 could be the perfect opportunity for you. While you’re at it, look into developing your other interests outside of your chosen career. When I started writing for Realcity as a fun way to explore my creative impulses, I had no idea I’d be adding “writer” to my list of professional ambitions.
While you’re busy getting your career in order, it may seem like you need to let your romantic life go by the wayside. With all the resume polishing, interviewing and picking up new hobbies, it may seem like you have no time. You might write someone off right away by the shirt he’s wearing or the way she laughs. I used to be that picky when I was younger too. Living in New York, I had a seemingly infinite chance of meeting people, so I’d dismiss men left and right. As I got a little older, I realized that I was really limiting the experiences I could be having. I didn’t have long meaningful relationships with every guy I went on one date with. On the other hand, I didn’t have a horrible time with any of them either. I lived through every mediocre date I ever had, and you will too. Just like the job search, you have to put yourself out there in order to find the right situation for you. Every date is not going to turn into a relationship, because you simply won’t be compatible with the majority of the people you meet. Putting yourself out there, though, will make it easier to meet the one right person.
Cities, especially New York, breed chaos. We’re often exposed to people we could have never imagined we’d meet, in situations we never thought we’d be in. Instead of fearing the chaos, embrace it. A chance encounter could lead you down an amazing path you never considered. Or it could give you valuable life experience. Either way, make 2013 the year you don’t stress out about your future. The frustrating thing is that we never really know when we’re about to get our dream job or meet the love of our life. As long as you go through each day knowing that you’re doing everything you can to work toward the things you want in life, there should be no reason to worry.