Life is not a math equation.
I enjoyed my Algebra homework two days ago. This may not seem like a big deal for most, but for me, this is landmark moment. I do not have a personal vendetta against math by any means, but it is safe to say that it’s not my favorite subject. Putting College Algebra off until my junior year seemed like a wonderful idea until now- when I actually have to take the class. (I liken it to the desire to eat 20 donut holes in one sitting- seems like a great idea until after you have done it.)
My reason for enjoying a set of Algebra problems is simple: if I abide by the formula given, I get the correct answer. Easy right? Follow the steps- get the answer. Its fail proof- it works every time. Like most 20 year olds, I often have the dreaded, “What the heck are you doing with your life?” conversation with myself. Its funny how even when I have stressed myself out worried about this and come to a solution so to speak, I land right back where I started with the only answer being, “I don’t know.” Even my best plans and intentions are set on a course that could radically change. Life is not like a math problem. Even the grandest of formulas could flip at any moment.
That’s really scary- and kind of awesome at the same time. If you had asked me three years ago where I would be in ten years, I would have promptly told you that I would be living in New York either finishing my Ph. D. in vocal performance at a music conservatory or working with a traveling opera company.
Plans change. It took a lot of courage for me to admit that while being voice major would have been amazing, I did not want to pursue music. I wanted to want to pursue music, but the honest truth was that I did not want it and no amount of forcing myself to want it was going to birth a true desire for a music career. I went through a season of guilt for not wanting to pursue music- I remember feeling like God was disappointed in me for not pursuing music as a vocation. Until one day, when someone kindly reminded me that my desires were given to me by God- along with the tools to pursue them and that me dwelling on what I had given up was 1) a fruitless effort, 2) arrogant and selfish. This was just the verbal butt kicking I needed.
Starting college, I wanted a new hobby. I wish I could say that I have always had a burning passion for photography deeply ingrained in my soul, but that’s just a big line that sounds nice. The truth is I haven’t always been interested in photography. I didn’t even think twice about it until my freshman year. I played with a friend’s Canon Rebel one night and thought to myself, “hey! Lets try photography.” I wish there was a nicer was to say this but frankly, my first camera purchase was nothing short of a whim. I liked the idea of photography and wanted to learn more about it, so I marched to Best Buy and paid for my first camera in cash.
My parents thought I had lost it, but they were supportive. Since then, I have developed a love for photography, and to call it a “hobby” in my life would be a gross understatement. But even as I have developed a strong passion for photography that makes all my other creative ventures pale in comparison, I still wake up some days with thoughts like, “What the heck am I doing with my life?” “Do I really have what it takes?” “Are my photos as good as this person’s or that person’s?”
The last few weeks have been a creativity desert, filled with doubts about if I really have what it takes to be a photographer. I don’t have a poker face worth anything once you get to know me, so it should come as no surprise that my doubts are painted all over my face with magic marker to those who know me best.
Last night, my professor asked me what was up, explaining that he could read the sadness and stress all over my face and how it was not like me to be down like this. Sometimes I wish I had a better poker face, but he nailed it. I proceeded to have a good 20-something freak out to which he responded with laughter.
Then I started laughing at myself seeing how ridiculous I was being last night and have been the last few weeks. Today, I woke up, still unsure about what the future holds (imagine that) and I will wake up tomorrow still unsure about what the future holds. But last night reminded me that it’s ok to not pretend that I am psychic, knowing where I’ll be in five years or what I will be doing.
I was again reminded to deal with the things in front of me now and to let the future worry about itself because no amount of worry is going to predict a precise outcome. There is no solution to the equation of worry. It is a fruitless effort that lands us all right back where we started.