What now?

What now? What now? What now? I really hate answering these kinds of questions because you can almost always hear the judgment being passed as soon as you declare whatever it is you have in mind. But I’m slowly beginning to realize that we’re allowed to be creative. So, when asked by person A, I give a serious answer like: oh, I’m getting my MA…but for person B, I tend to be silly and say: Me? I’m about to learn to fly a plane!

Who knows? I might actually do both. It can happen and the possibilities are endless! But all this excitement would not have come to me were it not for Petra. She lent me Ann Patchett’s essay (in book form because her editors are capitalist’s like that!), What now? It was based on a commencement speech that Patchett gave in her alma mater, Sarah Lawrence.

Here are my favorite lines:

What now is not just a panic-stricken question tossed out into a dark unknown. What now can also be our joy. It is a declaration of possibility, of promise, of chance. It acknowledges that our future is open, that we may well do more than anyone expected of us, that at every point in our development we are still striving to grow…It’s up to you to choose a life that will keep expanding. it takes discipline to remain curious; it takes work to be open to the world…Maybe this is the moment you shift from seeing What Now as one more thing to check off the list and start to see it as two words worth living by…it will only be the start of your education.

If you’re trying to find out what’s coming next, turn off everything you own that has an OFF switch and listen. Make up some plans and change them. Identify your heart’s truest desire and don’t change that for anything. Be proud of yourself for the work you’ve done. Be grateful to all the people who helped you do it. Write to them and let them know how you are. You are, every one of you, someone’s favorite unfolding story. We will all be anxious to see what happens next.


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