After graduating college, I had this delayed, but amazing revelation that I could study absolutely anything that I wanted to. I had no homework and no deadlines (for the most part) after I got home from my nine to five. So naturally, my desire to learn drifted towards the things that I knew nothing about. For me, that happened to be history.
I am embarrassingly bad with history.
So I decided that the best way to tackle my history ignorance was to pick up some non-fiction books and engage myself in the life of an individual at various points throughout the history of our world. Yet, this NOT so amazing thing happened. I realized that I didn’t know anything about history because I could not get myself interested in it – that’s a work in progress, in case you’re worried. So instead of knowing the world’s history, I thought, maybe I could study some of the most influential books to our time. And so began my slow exposure to our nation’s classic stories.
With the help of a “Must Read Books in Your 20s” article, I began reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. The story basically revolves around a young, successful woman, who suddenly goes mad. And – although it’s just mildly concerning – I found a passage within this book which really resonated with me.
“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.
From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.
I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
On nearly a daily basis, all of these ideas run through my head. Because after all, I could live in the South of France and live from rent check to rent check. Or I could just as easily stay at my current job and live the almost suburban life which eventually would include three happy kids and a hopefully fully devoted husband. Or I could train to ultimately conquer the physical world with strength and endurance – living off of my passion for sweat.
A twenty-something coworker told me today that she feels constant stress because she feels that everyday, the decisions that she does or doesn’t make could directly influence where she is in twenty years.
To some, it may seem dramatic. That is, until you’re smack dab in the middle of “where you always wanted to be” and find that you’re not so sure of where to go from here or what you truly want. The twenties, so far, seem like a decade of reflecting on yourself and your desire. They’re confusing and gray. So, Anne and I aim to share a portion of our lives with you and hopefully, along our journey, you can find a passage or an idea that resonates with you as well.