Possibilities & Experiences
The really great thing about being young is that anything is possible. The younger you are, the more possibilities you have.
Each choice we make means we are discarding other choices. Sometimes you can come back to the choice and sample the other option. Typically, you don’t get another chance. You go to one college (or maybe you transfer), you have one college major on your degree (usually!), and one graduation. You date a few guys but you don’t date the others, you move to one city over another, you take one job rather than another.
In my late 20’s, I still feel like I have a lot of possibilities. I still feel like I could have several more careers, live a few more places, and realize many more of my dreams. Or I could stay here without changing my path, and still realize a lot more dreams. Dropping my path and pursing medicine is unlikely at this point (but actually still possible), but most things haven’t been ruled out. Hopefully, I have a long life ahead of me.
Still. I feel like I’m on the cusp of a stage in my life where millions of possibilities will start slipping out of my grasp. I want my marriage, I want kids, I want a career, and those three things will demand so much time, energy, love and passion that I won’t be able to follow all of my selfish pursuits.
With just one life, I’ll never be able to realize all the possibilities. I’m still learning to accept that many things will remain undone, many dreams will remain unlived. That’s what happens as you go through life. You have to stop telling yourself “maybe one day…” and either make it happen or don’t. But really, we’re all going to miss almost everything – it’s just sheer numbers.
On the other hand! The really awesome thing about getting older is you get to trade in some of your possibilities for actual experiences. Instead of daydreams about your future, you are there! I have a job! I have a husband! I live in a small apartment by the beach! I have been to lots of cool places, I climb mountains, I have run a marathon, and… In short, I have a life I love. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
The young have many possibilities but few experiences. The old have many experiences but fewer possibilities. Do you ever feel sad at the thought that some things are no longer possible, even if they clearly weren’t that important to you anyway? What things did you once dream about that you now realize probably won’t make the cut?