Where Are You Now

The 20s are all about looking to the future. The future, what a concept. It's a pronouncement of time that is relative to that which I exist in at this present moment. It's something that fills me with joy and hope in addition to fear and anxiety. The funny thing about it is that it will be before I know it and at the same time it won't. The future will arrive and is also unattainable. It's a mind warp all wrapped the conceptualization of tomorrow. Everyone's big question is where are you now?

"You cannot plan for life, life just ... happens"
The year is 2040. It's been 25 years since I graduated college and my life is drastically different. I've received my masters and Ed.D in higher education. I've worked at 6 different instutions, and most recently served as a vice provost for student affairs for George Washington University in DC. I've done some educational policy work, published a successful series of books based on my college blog, and am being vetted to become the Secretary of Department of Education on my way to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. I reside in a Georgetown townhose with my wife and our five children - Jonathan, (the twins) Asher, Graham, Sadie, and Kaia. Did I mention that I'm married to Oscar winning actress AnnaSophia Robb? Our whirlwind romance happened when one of her movies shot on a campus I was administrating at and the rest was history. We've been married for 16 years and together for 20, and I've never been happier. Our wedding made a few headlines, I was surrounded by my family, friends, and fraternity brothers in addition to the papparazzi. I still see them all a few times a year and my family has greatly expanded. Life is good. I'm doing meaningful work, and making massive strides to make real impactful change. I am fulfilled, I am loved, I am happy. This is where I am now. 

Thinking about the future always messes with me. I feel like I have this ability to magine what other people might be like. There are those who are going to be awesome parents, some who will travel the world, others who will make the big decisions that will affect it, and even those who will have it all. I even feel like I can really look at someone and project in my mind how they'll age. Whatever this ability is, whether real or imagined, I have never been able to use it on myself. I guess it's like my dreams. I never see myself in them ... well because I am the person doing the viewing. I really wonder what I'll be and look like in the future. Here's to hoping that I get to be my best self daily and that I love who I see looking back at me, whether it be dreams or in a mirror.

In recent days I've spent a substantial amount of time in my own head thinking back and looking ahead. I have come so far. I am not the person I used to be. I love who I am now and would not want to be anyone else. For me, that means so much. Forget everyone else and their opinions of me - mine (and Big G) are the only ones that matter. I had so many options and I chose the best one. I had to. I'll continue to choose and to choose right. That's the only thing I can do. Whatever experiences I have I will learn from them. The world and those around us tell us so much about ourselves if only we take the time to stop, look, and listen. The answers we seek about what we want out of life are hinted all around us. I know that I want children to love and cherish unconditionally, to do substantive work everyday, and to maintain a circle of family and friends for a lifetime.

One the most important takeaways I've gleaned from my senior year has been learning to live in the moment. I had the opportunity to enroll in a design thinking class entitled "Design Your Life" and it gave me peace in so many ways. Whether it be relishing in the last few days I have left in my college experience or having multiple plans for the future, I have to come to understand that you life is unpredictable in so many ways. You have to go out and make your own way. Sometimes the opportunities that are meant for you will only be found if you put yourself out there to seek them out. You have to be open in heart, soul, and mind for you to see what may be right in front of you. Taking to heart that absolutely everyone you meet knows something that you do not is so profound. It means that we have to much to learn and that each and every person we come across is worth knowing to some extent. Connection is so important, linking up, connecting, and getting to know people and letting them know you; that may be exactly what life is about.

The quote that I started this post with is so meaningful. At any point in time certain things could happen. Tragedy could strike, the world could plunge into nuclear war, miraculous things could come about, or you could win the lottery. The future is unbeknownst to us all. We can plan all we want but things will never turn out the way we imagine them. That's not to say planning for your future is useless, because it's not, but what is being said is that whether you like it or not, different things will come up that cannot be planned for. There's something about that that is so scary but exciting at the same time. Control is part of who we are and there distinct instances where we are okay with giving it up. Deciding what is to come is usually not one of them. We do have control. We are masters of ourselves (even if we're complicated and may not always feel that way). We control today and what we do with it, how we live, and what we make it mean. We control our past and the stories we tell about us and what narratives it constructs for us. We have control, and we do not. The future is a paradox, and one that we'll never has mastery over. That's life and that's where we are now. 
My blog post question for the day is ... what do you want to be remembered for? I want to be the person people remember for making them feel valued, seen, heard, understood and loved. I want people to think of me know how much they have mattered to me.


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