For most of my friends and people my age, I've found that we are all on the same page - we don't know what we want to do next; we don't know where our lives are taking us, nor do we know where we want to end up in the future.
Lately, I've come to think of life as a large river. Life moves relentlessly as the river, all in one direction, but there are small outlets that feed out from the main body of the river. If we choose to, we can swim into one of the other paths of the river and see what it holds for us; perhaps it leads to a career path, or a family, or, really, anything in the world. In some cases, we have a general idea of what the branching stream holds for it. As with the rest of the river, it continues to move forward, and it may be labeled as "College," "Marriage," or "New Career Path." But, there is no telling exactly what the paths hold for us, which may make them a gamble as to what the outcome will be; will it be worth the effort to swim down from the rest of the river, and bypassing other paths along the way?
The thought of the future gives me a lot of anxiety. For most of my life, I had a general direction and had the guidance of what my next move would be. In middle school, it was clear that my river would take me to high school; and when asked which high school I would go to, I had my parents to guide me, and friends taking the same river alongside me. College, for the most part, began in the same way. Throughout the process, I had people to guide me forward and the knowledge that I wasn't going into the next stage of life alone.
But now I can't help but feel like, sometimes, I'm beginning to find myself swept up by the river and begin to drown. None of my friends have taken the same path in the river, and there is no security. Gentle waves of the river have become rushing rapidly that I need to survive on my own. Frankly, I'm scared of the future, because I've never felt so unsure in my life.
Most of the time, I find myself trying to block out the world and the impending future. I play my music too loud, I read books that, usually, have happy endings, and I go from day to day. Sometimes, thinking ahead is overwhelming and I feel lost.
But I also think that it's okay to feel the way I feel. I think everyone needs to feel lost at different points in their life, and I've come to a crossroads of my own. I think that, for where I am in life, it's normal for the future to cast a shadow of doubt over everything I have done up to this point - wondering if I've done enough, what more I could have done, or if I should have gone about my life differently. The way I view life, currently, I'm still young, and have a strong support system who I know will have my back, no matter what comes next.
I think it's alright to feel scared and nervous about the future, so long as I also feel excited to see what it could possibly hold for me. By that, it means that I am ready to move forward and that I will not immediately swim down the first path in the river, but wait for opportunity to strike when I feel secure, and it also means that I am not content in my current place, but ready to move on as the river flows.