The Impending Future



For some, the bright light at the end of an 18-year long tunnel. For others, the looming gate into a world of adulthood. 

For me, it’s a strange mixture of both. 

I’m barely a few months into my sixteenth year, but it still feels like an eternity already. Yet, my time as a child is drawing to a close. 

I have a year and a half until I graduate. Only another few months beyond that until I am a fully-fledged adult.

 That’s 633 days.

And I’m terrified. 

After graduation, the world is open to you, and if you are not ready, it might very well just swallow you whole. There are so many possibilities for employment, with paths in life that you never have been exposed to. 

A hypnotherapist. A ghostwriter. A grey-hat hacker. An underwater demolition driver. 

A list a mile long, yet you are supposed to select one path and stick with it till your retirement, or death, depending on whichever finds you first.

The world is completely open to you, but there is no one way. There is no handbook to life. 

I’ve always felt certain of myself; known who I am for a long time. Had a defined self. But, it’s been slipping lately. 

Reflecting back on childhood memories bleeding with nostalgia, I’ve started to question. 

Question what I really want in life. 

Question where I really have come from. 

Question who I really am. 

Question where I am heading. 

I’ve become paralyzed by commitment. Fearful of sticking to one path for the rest of my life.

 And, yes, while I understand that there are multiple ways to change up your life, I’m impatient.

 I’m indecisive. 

I’m scared of letting others down, given all the opportunities I have had throughout my life. 

 I’m scared of letting my dreams die. 

I may only be sixteen, but I want to get a jumpstart. I’m worried about spending four full years in college. Will I be too old come graduation?

Will I have missed the window?

Will I have missed my potential?

But what really is potential? Who defines it? 

For me, I don’t really know. It’s a strange mixture between my parents, myself, my upbringing, and my goals. 

Potential is unmeasurable. A non-tangible object that cannot be fully realized until after one has left this Earth. It is something only realized after a long day, a long life, a good life. 

And who even knows what the maximum of potential is? Does the person who lived in the same small town their entire life have less potential (and potential met) than a Silicon Valley entrepreneur credited with creating the next tech revolution. 

No one can guarantee where you will end up in ten years. Ten weeks. Even ten days in some cases. 

People and events will come and go. Chapters will begin and end throughout your life. A fact that while being depressing, also offers a glimmer of hope. 

New chapters, graduation even, comes with new opportunities. A clear start. A fresh start. 

A new beginning. 

While that is terrifying, and I will remain terrified of that till the day I dawn my cap and gown, there is a small light at the end of the tunnel. 

A light that everyone has. That anyone can create. 

One that beams of a fresh start, a new chapter. 

Ever bright, untapped potential for you, and your entire life.

And isn’t that the true meaning of the journey?