My Future in California

Winter Bird Festival

I visited California to see my grandparents. The trip also took me to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Seeing so many college students walking to class, I thought I might feel a sense of longing.

Instead I felt calm. Meeting with my ex-professors,  I thought they would have questions about why I left school. In reality, their questions were focused on my vacation. I excitedly explained my new plans to return.

I would take a couple classes back in Illinois. Then, at the end of the year, I would move back to California to finish my last class along with my senior project.

I told my plan to as many people as possible. Friends and family, advisers and professors, ex-coworkers and boss. One listener responded with a unique piece of advice:

“Don’t live in the wreckage of your future”.

I already understand not living in the wreckage of my past. Dropping out has transformed from a negative experience into a humbling one. Moving forward has become more important.

Which is why the advice surprised me. Could my intense focus on the future be harmful? I thought back to when I enrolled in a track to get a Master’s degree. When my plans fell through, I ended up falling down with them. I didn’t even earn my Bachelor’s.

For me, this advice is about not clinging too hard to a set path.  I ought to reconcile with the uncertainty of life. I might not end up in California in 2017. I might not get my degree before my 10 year school reunion.

I tried to internalize the advice and spent the rest of my trip in the present. Hiking up the hills, running down the beach, and visiting all the tourist shops. I ate good food with friends and family, and celebrated my 27th birthday, one of my most memorable yet.

Grandparents' House

Trek

Friends from Urbana

Winter Bird Festival

Birthday Dessert

2 thoughts on “My Future in California

  1. Ben! I’m so glad you started a blog! Please keep writing 🙂 The passage “For me, this advice is about not clinging too hard to a set path. I ought to reconcile with the uncertainty of life. I might not end up in California in 2017. I might not get my degree before my 10 year school reunion” is very wise. This is one of the things that we have also had to come to terms with, and still do every single day. You never know what comes next, and I, at least, believe that one will be happier if we decide to set these expectations aside and just let the world flow 🙂 Thanks for the great blog entry!

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