I am the type of person who likes instructions, general guidelines, and examples. When I cook something new I like looking up different recipes for a general idea of what and how much stuff (technical term right there) a certain dish has. When a professor assigns a paper, I want clear instruction and adore an example so I can get a gist for the outline and writing style that the professor wants. Give me a clear, strong skeleton of what you want me to do and I will use my creativity to flesh it out, tweak it, and make it my own.
Now you can psychoanalyze me to figure out why I am this way (please don’t, it’s rude) but the fact of the matter is that I am this way. I realized recently that how I am is why I am so frightened and frustrated with my life.
Because it’s unique.
Sure up to this point I have had the general structure that family life and school has offered me. Growing up with siblings and being in school for sixteen years has lent me an iron frame that I filled in with friends, church, academic success, retreats, and mistakes. Now, with terrifying speed, that frame is coming to an end and there isn’t another one ready-made for me. No, soon I will have to build my own frame.
I see all the possibilities lying at my feet: job opportunities, further education, literally the whole world at my feet! Yet I stand on the edge of this percipience, toes over open air, not finding the will inside myself to jump. Have you ever experienced that? The knowledge that you have to make a decision and there are numerous options, yet you find yourself frozen with indecision? Desiring to venture off into the unknown, yet are held by the comfort of the known?
It’s like that moment in Disney’s Tangled where Rapunzel is standing on the edge of her windowsill about to go chase her life’s dream. Yet she hesitates. Looking behind her she sees comfort, a place she knows. Looking below, she sees a world that is strange, new, exciting , and unknown.
Yet even Rapunzel at that moment has a leg up on me because she knows what she wants, “to see the floating lanterns gleam,” while I have no idea. I want my degree, eventually have a family, and serve God through my life. All great things, but the only concrete one, like Rapunzel’s, is about to be achieved in a year. How am I to chase my dream if I don’t have one yet?
Even if I did everything exactly like Rapunzel, would my story come out exactly like hers? No. Besides the obvious hair deficiency and my lack of ‘smolder’-filled sidekicks, I am not Rapunzel. That seems like a ‘no duh’ statement, but think about it. I am not Rapunzel, I am Amelia. I am not my sister, I am not my friends. I am not the celebrities I admire, or that girl in class who seems to have it all together. No, I am simply me. How often do we ignore this simple yet defining fact in our lives? In a culture that is constantly barraging it’s populous with ideals in beauty, success, and happiness, that are as daunting as they are unrealistic, it is hard to remember that your life does not, and in a way will not, conform to these standards because it is is unique. We could read every advice article in the world and follow their steps exactly, but it wouldn’t come out like they said because our lives are composed of different events, people, and emotions than the authors.
Our lives are unique.
Isn’t that wonderfully, terrifyingly beautiful?
Isn’t it liberating, the thought of uniqueness? Of possibility? Before as I looked at the many options before me I became frozen with fear. The fear of making the wrong choice. Yet if we are all unique, as different from one another as snowflakes, is there such a thing as a ‘wrong’ choice? There will be mistakes of course, regrets here and there, but in the end I made a choice and that is infinitely more satisfying than becoming stagnate with what-ifs.
I have all the pieces of my life at my fingertips, some I will use, others I will avoid. These pieces I will fit together, piece by excruciatingly small piece, until when I look back I will see a life of my own making. The sunny, bright spots and the dark, moody shadows sketching out who I am. I am on the knife’s edge of possibility, toes dangling over bottomless air, posed and ready to accept whatever unfolds.
Won’t you jump with me?