I live with two amazing women. Two amazing women who are very similar to me in interests and talents and who laugh at my jokes when they’re funny.
Last night these two amazing women sat on our couch researching graduate programs in the area of study that I have my degree in. They’re both hoping to be in a Ph.D. program this time next year, on their way to the life of professional academia. And it was as I sat across from them, not researching graduate programs and not studying for the GRE that I had a strange existential crisis. Why wasn’t I doing that too? And the more important question, why didn’t I feel upset, saddened, anxious about not doing that.
You see, getting another degree in literature was always something I thought about doing pretty seriously. At many stages of my life that was my plan. I love teaching, I love stories, I love critical thinking. It seemed like a no-brainer. But the more I tried to pursue it, the more it didn’t feel right. And as I worked on my thesis I realized that as much as I love academia, I didn’t want to do it for the rest of my life.
So choosing to not pursue a Ph.D. was a conscious decision on my part. I think it was the right decision too. But it doesn’t make it any less strange that watching the two people I interact with most pursuing something that almost was my reality doesn’t make me feel anything.
It’s funny when a lack of a crisis becomes a crisis in and of itself, but that’s what this has become for me. Why am I so composed? I really have no idea. Possibly a miracle from on high, because everyone who knows me knows I stress about having a plan and goals. Truth is, I’m staring into the void of future plans that is my life and for some reason it doesn’t terrify me. And that fact is almost scarier than freaking out about the void.