It’s 2.51 in the morning and my browser is a daunting sight. Tabs with programs, fellowships, jobs, option after option after option stares back at me, taunting at the fact that it’s Time To Sort Out Your Future. But wait. Didn’t I already Sort Out My Future after endless nagging from teachers, parents in Year 9; not trusting a 13 year old to stay out after school and yet trusting her to decide what she wants to do for the rest of her life?
First times, in all senses of the phrase, carry this strangely familiar feeling of anxiety and excitement, rolled up in a giant ball of “oh god I need to organise every tiny aspect of my life RIGHT NOW”, and, “wait no I don’t want to let’s marathon all six seasons of Gossip Girl until I can’t feel my brain anymore”. It’s scary. It doesn’t go away. ‘Real life’ can get pretty terrifying.
Except it isn’t the ‘real life’ part, is it? It’s not the thought of finding a job, nor the thought of putting my dream of being Jodie Foster in Contact on pause. It’s not even the fact that I have no idea what to do with myself this month, let alone this year. I’m terrified because I am cursed with the knowledge that I sat in the City Finals for 48HOURS this year because ten years ago I decided to make a shitty film about drawing polka dots on the American flag. I am cursed with the knowledge that I graduated with a physics degree because at age 8 I picked up a book by Carl Sagan.
I’m cursed with the knowledge of chaos theory, and am terrified that any decision will bar me forever from those other timelines that are brighter; more colourful.
I’m not saying that your first times are going to be any more or less easy. But we should be reminded that no matter how daunting life seems at the moment, we have to remember one thing: we’ve all done this before. Not exactly this, but something very much like it. We’ve all dealt with the unimaginable dread that sinks to our stomachs as we realise that mum is, for real, walking away on our first day of kindergarten, and the tears and the fear take over. We’ve all dealt with life throwing us a curve ball, and we had to move to a new school, make new friends, meet new people. We’ve all hung in that place between going on and giving up when we’ve made a commitment to something we’re not so sure about anymore. Uncertainty is a part of life. It’s okay to not know.
Sometimes, you just have to throw the die. Pick your guns, stick with it, and see what happens.