Well, I did it. I officially applied for graduation and I’ve never been more terrified.
Honestly, this is not the reaction I was anticipating. Years ago, as I visualized clicking that exalted “Apply for Graduation Now” button on my student account, I imagined myself relieved, happy, and maybe, just maybe, even a tad bit hopeful. Hell, I imagined feeling anything other than this.
Because how I reacted to my application was anything but those 3 emotions listed above; instead, I cried.
Up until now, I had been excited about this next step in my life. I mean, I can’t stay in school forever, right? There’s a world out there, a world that I hope, to some extent, needs me in it.
But while a part of me thinks that, another part of me can’t let go of my past. I’m stuck in this position of trying to be positive about the future, trying to envision myself in a job, secure, working towards something larger. There’s fleeting moments of foreseen happiness that hit me sometimes, when I’m alone, on the SkyTrain or walking to class listening to music. I see it — my future. I see it clear as day and I get excited. Having a place of my own, working, living with my partner. Maybe we have a huge library in our living room, right next to the fireplace, and maybe I play old classic rock albums as we cook together on weekends, and maybe we go for walks along the water next to Science World, and maybe I have a designated coffee spot in Gastown where I edit my online magazine on weekday mornings, and maybe we go to fitness classes together downtown on Saturday mornings, and maybe I’m happy. Maybe.
But it’s those maybes that constantly build upon themselves, layer by dreaded layer, and construct my uncertainty, my reality, and my pessimism.
Because they’re just maybes.
They are the creation of the world’s most resented word — maybe. Those 5 letters hold so much unpredictability, so much potential doubt that I never let get to me before. In the years of my teens, I never let the word maybe scare me to the extent that it does today. Maybe held promise. Maybe I’d get into university and write for the student newspaper. Maybe I’d land that internship and be on my way to becoming the next Anna Wintour. Maybe I’d nab that scholarship and half my tuition would be paid for. Maybe. There was hope and there was light in that word for my pre-undergraduate self.
Now, I can feel myself becoming like my mother, her realist, grounded ideals bubbling up inside me. “Was she right?” I constantly ask myself. Was this school, this major, this life, this path the right thing? Because maybe I made a mistake. Maybe I overestimated my abilities. Maybe my head was too high in the clouds, my mind too far into my dreams to see how the world really is. Maybe I reached to high, shot for the moon and didn’t even reach the atmosphere.
But maybe, just maybe, I can find my way back to that old self. Maybe the future isn’t that scary and I need to believe. Believe — my favourite word. Much like maybe, there is promise and hope in believe. The beautiful distinction between the two, however, lies in the lack of a negative quality in believe that maybe will always possess.
I may never know what 2017 or 2018 or even 2040 has in store for me, and as much as I hate to say it, that scares the hell out of me. But someone very close to me once said that in order to grow, we must be comfortable in our discomfort. And in order to do that, I must confront those maybes head on, and start believing that something is out there and it’s waiting for me.
So, my friends, here’s to turning those maybes into believes.
Until next time,