|Oh, the places you'll go...|
The night I quit my sorority, I sat in Reveka's living room unsure of what to do next. I hadn't expected the identity crisis that came with leaving an organization that wasn't for me in the first place, but here I was--over a year into college and feeling more lost than when I first began.
"You need a distraction," Reveka said, and brought up this new project she'd heard about from somebody else: The Day Zero Project encouraged people to make lists of 101 things they wanted to do in 1001 days. You had to write down specific things you wanted to do, and give yourself a deadline.
I went home that night and started compiling a list. I stopped several times. The thing that scared me the most was knowing I wouldn't be able to accomplish everything. I just knew I wouldn't be able to, and not because I wouldn't try, but because I had this incredibly cliche fear of failure. I didn't want to make plans because I'd made so many of them before and they didn't work out.
But the website said to "welcome failure," so I figured I'd give it a shot.
I made a list of 101 things I wanted to do by October 5, 2011. That day seemed so far away for a college sophomore sitting in her apartment engulfed in guilt for leaving her sisters and fear of not having a plan anymore. October 5, 2011 meant not being in college anymore and it meant even more uncertainty. Who knew, after all, what would happen in the next 2.75 years?
It's funny when I think back to making this list and all of the anxieties I had about it. It's even funnier to look ahead at June 2011 at my commencement speech where I encouraged thousands to embrace the unknown, the fear, the failures. In my list of 101 things, I never once considered listing "growing up"--but that's so vague, isn't it?
According to my Word document, I stopped keeping track of the things on my list in June 2010, about a year and a half before my deadline. As I look at the list now, I see many more things I've accomplished, both inside and outside of my October 5, 2011 deadline. Maybe I've always kept this list in the back of my mind because there are quite a few things on here I've done that I never thought I would.
But there's so much more, of course, I still haven't done. Perhaps one day I will, but what revisiting this list has taught me is that it isn't too late to do all of the things you've wanted. Life is short, and we should be living every day as if there is the potential to achieve something new, something grand. Sure, I haven't found a way to pet a panda yet (grr, someday!), but I have learned to knit a hat. I won't ever stand in Times Square on New Year's Eve (what was I thinking?), but perhaps someday I will learn how to tie a bow tie and I do have plans to get a manicure after the holidays with Sarah.
At the risk of sounding self-indulgent (is that the right phrase?), I think I really get why I was so adamant in my commencement speech to emphasize that plans don't always work out. My life is proof of that--everything I thought I'd do at a certain time in a certain place turns out to have changed, and I really believe that who I am right now and where I am right now is where I'm supposed to be. At senior retreat in high school, Mrs. Sparks had said to me, "You are where you're supposed to be," and I never really got that until years later after constantly doubting my place, my identity, my purpose.
Soon, it will have been four years since I first made that list of 101 things. It will also be two years since graduating from college, and one year since I've moved to New York. I may not have accomplished everything I thought I would, but it doesn't mean I should end my goals now. There's more to dream and more to do, so here we go...