I’ve lived in the same small town, Shrub Oak, for almost my entire life. Long enough that I can’t remember living anywhere else, or even moving here. A lifetime within a single town has certain benefits, even though Shrub Oak can feel suffocatingly small. I instinctually maneuver my car to avoid pretty much every pothole, I always have a direct plan of attack upon entering the grocery store, and the woman at my favorite take-out place knows my voice on the phone and hands me my order without thinking when I walk inside.
One of the best perks of knowing my hometown so well, is knowing the best, and in my opinion, only place to get Chinese food. Despite knowing that Golden House is the best, and my family’s weekly habit of ordering from there, I still find it impossible to decide what I want to order. I inevitably end up ordering the same meal, an egg roll, a soup if I’m not feeling well, and a roast pork with mixed vegetables. Thoughts of sesame, orange, or sweet and sour chicken always flood my mind and tempt my tastebuds. I deliberate over whether lo mein or fried rice will be filling enough as opposed to the possibility of chicken and broccoli and my mouth waters along with a grumbling stomach. And even though I always end up with the same food in front of me when all’s said and done, it never stops me from an hour’s worth of contemplating.
From all of this you’re probably thinking that I’m a pretty indecisive person, and in terms of the little things, I am. At 18 years old, I still do not have a set shampoo and conditioner that I always buy. Going to Starbucks is always a struggle about whether it’s a coffee or tea kind of day, hot or iced, flavored or plain, an extra shot of espresso or is it too late in the day for caffeine. My daily decision making debates are constant and never ending. Left or right, short cut or the long way, what to wear, what to eat, nothing is simple.
Strangely enough, I find no need for pros and cons lists or debates or even doubts when it comes to the big stuff, though. I feel like the opposite of most as I inspect every side of trivial things such as whether to buy cinnamon or honey graham crackers, while easily determining the crucial parts of my journey into adulthood as I start to shape my life and my future. Somehow, the inconsequential questions, like making the decision over what to order from the local Chinese restaurant are the hardest and most daunting decisions I ever have have to make. You might think that this feat would be far surpassed by the stress of the college process or the pressure of knowing what to do with the rest of my life, but those decisions seemed to fall into place fairly easily, almost like a calling.
I may never know what to get when we order Chinese, but I have somehow made the most important decisions of how to start the course of my life away from Shrub Oak with an almost scary ease. I have decided that I am in love with studying chemistry and that I will follow through on that passion by devoting my college career to it, I have decided that Hamilton College is my next home (a no-brainer), I have decided that going to medical school to pursue a career in surgery is my ultimate goal and dream. I have made these big, seemingly scary decisions based on the feeling that it’s just right, and yet, my next Chinese food order is still a mystery.
So, here I go, to make a new home and to start my journey and I’m so excited and so sure of the path I’ve chosen