In 2013 I graduated high school, and afterwards I joked that I had retired. “No, no, no. It’s about time you got a job. A real job.” If I’m being honest, I didn’t even try to get a real job. There’s that old comeback that adults will use with children, “How do you know you won’t like it until you try it.” And it’s the smart kids that say, “I’m pretty sure I don’t like getting shot in the kneecap, but you know what, good point, I haven’t tried it yet.”
During my junior year of high school, we spent a couple of months getting prepared for our college applications. Part of this preparation was reading through past college application essays. The one I remember the most had something to do with being able to make 60-second brownies in 58-seconds, creating a corduroy sleepwear line, and re-discovering extinct species. It was outright dripping with sarcasm, using the 1000-word limit to say, “What do you really think I’ve done with my past seventeen years of life, fifteen of them spent in a public school?”
And that essay haunted me. Because what had I done in my past seventeen years that I could write about? I decided to do what I had wanted to do for years, and I went traveling. I planned on being gone for years, and I ended up being gone for just over three months.
When I returned home, I never got a real job. I still didn’t have a story worth 1000 words, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do, or who I was. It’s that old idea of breaking yourself down to find out who you are. And I tried that, over and over again, and if I’m being honest, I’m not so sure I’m done yet.
You cliked the ‘About’ tab, probably intent on finding some small, bite-sized morsel of ‘Who I am’ and instead, you get the honest answer: I don’t know. Yet.