When I turned down Teach For America (I KNOW THE HORSE IS DEAD. I will put down my stick soon.) I was at a loss for what to do with my whole entire life. The problem is that I had wanted to do TFA since I was a junior in high school; it was the plan, the grand map I was following. And since I am apparently a crappy cartographer, it just didn’t work out. And when it didn’t, part of me definitely felt lost – but another part of me was really excited, because it meant I got to do something else. Very few people get to make more than one dream come true, and in a very strange way, I had the opportunity to make that happen.
The problem is, most of my dreams involve immediate fame and wealth, and I know that isn’t going to happen. One thing I’ve wanted to do since I was around seven, though, is be a writer. I told everyone that I wanted to be an author; that I had found my passion, and that was that. And I was promptly told that authors don’t make much money. So I switched to journalist. For a brief time, I lost my mind and considered being a doctor (my mother was strongly involved in this decision making process). And then finally, I decided to be a lawyer. I majored in International Relations because I like to write, like learning about the world, and I felt it would provide a good basis for law school.
All of these things are still true about my major; but I realized that I want to give this writing thing a chance. I want to try to be a writer. And I know I want to see more of the world. So one of the things I’m toying with right now is going to Europe for a year and writing about it. Writing about what I see, posting pictures of my travels, and using the blog itself as a sort of portfolio to get myself other writing jobs.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been working on this post for about a week now. I’m not used to being honest about what I want; this dream, to be a writer for a living, is a little too close to a wish for me. I never quite outgrew the superstition that if I told someone what I really, fervently wished for, it wouldn’t come true. So this post was especially hard to write, since basically anyone can now stumble across it. But I imagine other people have dreams they’re scared of too.
I’m terrified it won’t work out – that I’ll waste a year bumbling around Europe, and wind up at home, broke, trying to get a job at our local Target. I’m also scared it’ll work out, because I’ve only dreamed of becoming a writer – I have no dreams for what might happen once I achieve that goal. But I feel like I would live my whole life wanting, and I don’t want to do that.
So, if I can make it happen, I will be going to Europe. And I hope whoever is reading this will be going with me, virtually if not literally.