Making decisions for the future – the “Meh, whatever”-perspective

The future is a terrifying thing to most people I know. Since we’ve yet to discover time travel it is hard – no – impossible to say what the future holds for us. Right now we – my friends and I – are at a stage in life where we have to make big decisions that will impact our future immensely. When we were still graduating from school a few months ago, most of us had a vague idea what we wanted to do with our lives. But there was no need for absolute decision just yet. First, we had to pass our finals and then we would take a year out and surely by that time we’d know. We would know what we wanted to do with our lives, exactly do with our lives.

And right now, six or so months later, it’s time we decide. We need to decide what we want to do so we know what we want to study and where we want to go – all of that within our academic abilities of course.

Growing up we all had dreams and some of us heald onto these dreams for quite a while if they were realistic enough to meet grown-up-ish standards. Some went right for it after finishing school. The rest of us is left wondering.

Me, I still want to be a writer. Of course there is no straight forward course for becoming a writer. And I want to work in theatre. So I’ll be applying for a course in culture journalism, creative writing with a tendency to theatre. Perfect. If that doesn’t work out I’m applying for linguistics and theatre studies in Berne or linguistics and sign language in Hamburg. In Berne there is also an english-speaking theatre group I could join, not to mention the friends I’ve stayed in touch with since leaving Switzerland four and a half years ago.

So, of course I will be disappointed if (more like when) I don’t get into my plan A study course, but finally my plan B sounds pretty good to me too (Seriously though, you better not start going on about plan C or I’ll have to pacifistically rip your head off).

I think the trick here is knowing that I have no real control over the future. And instead of letting it frighten me (much), I’ve decided to go for more of a “What the heck”- attitude.
I could study writing and theatre and one day end up working for the government. I could study linguistics and end up working in theatre anyway. Or I could turn out to be someone I would never have thought I’d be. Who really knows anyway?

I’m trying not to see this decision I’m making as something that will force me to stay on one single path for the rest of my life.
I used to be afraid of studying for years on end, but it’s either that or working for years on end. The retirement age in Germany is currently at 65 (they keep trying to put it up though). So, assuming I start to study by the end of this year and I study for about five years in total getting a bachelor and a master’s degree that makes me 25/26 when I’m done. And assuming I start working from then, I’ll be working for about 40 years until I can retire. Forty years – that’s twice my lifetime so far.

Life is getting longer (assuming of course we don’t get struck down in our youth like Snow White, except without dwarves or Chris Hemsworth) with science and the longer we live, the longer we work. When I went to the university of Berne to have a look at a few of their courses, I saw several students who looked like they were long over thirty.

So even if we don’t get to do what we want to do right now, there’s still time. As my mother always says: If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.

So maybe I’m being a little too laissez-faire and optimistic or whatever about this topic, but it’s the only thing that’s stopping from freaking out completely and refusing to make any decisions whatsoever.

Besides, the future is coming. Not much we can do about it.

Oh – and by the way: Happy 2015!


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