A Lifelong Fight for Hope

Anyone who knows me will tell you I like to have a sunny outlook on circumstances. You ask me how my day is going, chances are I’ll tell you it’s great, even if I spilled hot cocoa on my favorite jeans and showed up an hour late for work.

However, behind that exterior of sunshine is a heart that seems conditioned to one response: worry.

If I were talking about just the kind of anxiety you might encounter when flying on an airplane for the first time, I might tell myself that it’s only natural. Unfortunately, I’m talking about the kind of anxiety that wakes you up at 3 AM thinking you heard your alarm going off.

So I read all those comments about changing in funding and federal grants, even cutbacks in the National Endowment for the Arts, and I think PANIC.

For someone who hopes to pursue advanced education, this is bad news.

Why couldn’t this be happening to some other field?

Learning is important, people!

As soon as I stop listening to the voice of unbridled terror, I realize that my view on most things is very selfish.

It is the luxury of Western culture to consider the movement of the economy or the guarantee of my “perfect job” to be more important than the fact that I have never gone without food, water, shelter, or the love and support of community.

I believe that one of these days I will discover that panic isn’t enough. It leaves a person cold, lonely, and dissatisfied.

Instead, I’d like to actually trust in that hope that makes me tell you I’m having a great day. Despite the fact that life might not always go how I thought they would.

And maybe my dream of being a French professor, just like my hopes of becoming a published writer, will one day seem like a distant memory…

But I prefer to fight against that panic every moment of every day, knowing that my own fear is more of my enemy than the economy or even the end of the world.


Hello, Present

Like many recent college graduates, I’ve found myself getting super discouraged lately. For the past few weeks, my life has consisted of lounging in my PJ’s, watching TV, and a whole lot of binge reading.

Ok, it’s an introvert’s heaven… But there’s been this unbearable itch in me to get something started, some sort of structure to keep the monotony at bay.

And one question is always there: when will life just get started?

I’ve always imagined myself doing one thing: being a published writer. I’ll admit, that’s an exaggeration. There was a time when I wanted to be a ballerina, which led into my dream of becoming best friends with Aladdin [and other various Disney characters].

I read voraciously and scribbled stories in journals for as long as I can remember. I still own most of them but secretly wish I had the nerve to burn the evidence. Those first few stories really were atrocious; I promise.

In college, I did the best thing anyone could do. I attended a liberal arts college. I studied French and English, which was a natural fit considering how much I always excelled in those areas.

Then I started to figure out what I wanted my future to look like.

I imagine myself ten years from now: sitting on the couch, writing stories no one ever reads and watching the same old TV shows over and over and over…

It looked, and some days still does look, like a big fat vortex of nothing.

In this day and age, entry-level jobs are scarce, and finding a job is terrifying when you’ve never worked 9 to 5 and all you know are your favorite song lyrics or quotes from The Avengers.

We’re the generation who’s been told our whole lives that we can do anything we put our minds to. Now we’re so caught up in fast-paced living that waiting on the dream to become a reality is often so excruciating in its speed that we can’t bear to put up with it anymore.

I fear that I’m sounding melodramatic, but I can’t stress this enough. It’s never too late to make a step toward some concrete goal, even if it takes the form of an internship, pushing around mail, or just a volunteer job.

Someday, I’ll be published. I know that dream isn’t going anywhere fast. But right now, I’m thankful. I have somewhere to go, something to remind me that life won’t pass me by unless I let it.