Monday, March 11, 2013

Most Likely To...

In college, preparations are underway for a Yearbook and for the End of Year Ball. As this is my final year, both are entirely relevant to me, and have required me to fill in sheets of "Most likely to..."s for my classmates.

The overall effect of these sheets? Well, for a start I feel old. Final year in college... how did that happen? When I was a child I used to think that Primary School was pretty much as far as you got. When you finish in school, that's it: story over, nothing else happens. Kids didn't grow up, make friends outside of the activities that existed when I was eight, write books, get a job, go to college, make a whole bunch of other friends, or have to think about the future as they approached the end of their time in college.

It was a simpler time.

But here I am, at the end, feeling old, and, well, second effect: thinking about the future.

See, the thought of who is most likely to travel the world, or get married first, or have their own talk show, or anything that has made its way onto the various lists, that's weird. It's a weird and alien thought and it basically leaves us with no choice but to think about the future. In saying that, it's not all about careers and what we will do immediately after exams end, but it's still all about the things that might happen to us as we move on past the college years.

I've had to think about this for a while, now, actually. There were worries that, at the end of the financial year, my shop might close. This was based on rumour and my own remarkable ability to become increasingly anxious about something as the hours go by. We're still open, thankfully, but I did have a plan in place in case things went sour. I had to. After the last time, I didn't want to be stuck thinking "What now?"

So, I drew up a list of various considerations. What would I have to sacrifice to hang on to money when I would need it most? This ended up being things like comic books and cinema trips. I don't go out much, and when I do go's usually to the cinema. Once a week, if I'm lucky. I can't afford an unhealthy drinking habit. Yay me. (I'm joking here... it's not obvious, because most of my comedic value lies in being "sassy", as a friend of mine says. I enjoy going to the cinema every week. My liver is all the better for it, given the alternative.)

As well as the sacrifices, I had to consider how else I might make an income. I didn't presuppose employment right away, or easy access to redundancy money (from the company or the State). That's just the way things are. So, I listed the books I had planned to write, took all those weekend hours and Friday nights into consideration, and gave myself deadlines.

Then, I planned ahead further. I bought Tim Ferriss's book, as mentioned in a recent post, and devised some plans based on that. I've got a couple of things in mind, now, and some rough plans to follow through on them. Though Ferriss advises against making plans for three months from now (because they won't get done, most of the time), I don't have a choice. Unlike a lot of his readers who work 9-5 jobs, I have lectures, assignments and exams to think about.

However, all of this - and some previous forward thinking - has me semi-prepared for the future that I have no choice but to think about, thanks to my very position in college and the impending future. I'm sticking to the deadlines for books as closely as I can, working off a checklist I drew up for myself. I'm not cutting back on what I do each week, though I'm being more careful with my spending; I'm not just buying things for the sake of it. And, I'm making plans, for immediate effect, for the summer. This involves a lot of writing and work, but with an end goal in mind: making life more enjoyable for myself while I attempt to save up to work on towards a Masters Degree.

Seriously, I have lots of books on various topics to help me on my way in this. Marketing, business, psychology, mental health, writing, religion, IT and self-motivation are the major ones. Yeah, I read around. (Side note, the non-college books I'm reading at the moment are: 'Successful Business Plans', 'Superheroes and Physics' and 'Flagging the Problem'.) Varied topics, various uses, and I enjoy all of it.

I think I read in so many different areas out of fear of losing choices. John Green once spoke about how every decision we make in life invariably leads towards having less choices. We go to college and specialise in an area, and suddenly we don't have the option of doing something else. In my case, I specialise in English and Religion; I cannot become a heart surgeon after this. (I don't want to become a heart surgeon, mind you, and I don't think I'd be very good at it.) But I figure there are plenty of things I can do that I don't need to have specialised for, and by generalising my reading topics, I not only expose myself to various types of langauge and thinking, I allow myself some more choices. I could set up a business, or write a comic book, or simply write about the different topics I'm reading in. I could create a module for the new Junior Cycle Programme, or simply baffle students with a knowledge of things outside of my particular subject area.

Because of all this, stemming from a fear of losing choices, losing possibilities, and facing the future unprepared, I'm not sure that a "Most Likely To..." can accurately describe what my life will be like. I think it says more about who I am now, and how I appear to other people. But just as importantly, it gives me an idea of what I  have the option to do or become. I couldn't ask for anything more at the end of my course than a possibility.

No comments: