I never have considered myself someone who had a “plan.” A plan for how what I do in college would translate into after college and then turn into a career. In fact, those were the people I would make jokes about while secretly being jealous of their sense of direction in life. When my family members ask me what my plans are after graduation, as they do with more and more frequency the older I get, I make up answers like “oh I don’t know, maybe I’ll teach abroad and figure things out as I go.” Or, “maybe grad school in China…” Slowly these causal answers melded into some sort of stock answer that I consitantly feed to inquiring great aunts, childhood friends and friendly strangers alike.
I suppose without realizing, I had become that person with “the plan” for their next steps. I didn’t know it though. Its hard to admit when you become the thing you make fun of. I didn’t realize it was there until I found myself wanting to deviate from it and feeling the panic of going off book. Working with the influence from my internship and the influence of living in Detroit, I saw new paths forming. And I resisted them. “But I know what I want to do already” I remind myself, “I’m gonna go to grad school in China and become an interpreter and travel the world or something. Maybe I’ll teach English and maybe I’ll work in a coffee shop and maybe I’ll learn another language someday too,” because these are the things that I know.
Then I feel the pull again to plants and growing and food justice and farming. I see all the ways I have been happy so happy working in Detroit this summer, and I see how that, too, could translate into a future for myself completely separate from what I’ve been dreaming for the past three years. I can picture a very content, fullfilling, attainable life that would all but throw my studies out the window. And that’s scary. And I feel like I’m selling my self short with that thought. I have big dreams and while I understand the uselessness of trying to map out your life ahead of time, I’m not ready to let go of all of the things if been working towards and looking forward to for the newest most exiting thing although I feel conflicted about staunchly holding onto old goals.
What I’m learning is that I need to be ready to let whatever happens happen, because I don’t really have that much control and I need to allow room for myself to grow. Im trying to trust that in whatever I do, aspects of food systems, food justice and gardening can and will be involved without compromising other things I would like to do. The experiences I’ve had this summer, the connections I’ve made and the skills I’ve accuired will inform my decisions going forward whether I’m ready to change my plan or not.