Let me make an obvious and widely-known statement: One's senior year of college is often exciting and enlightening but scary at the same time.
I think the single greatest discovery I've made so far is that I'm much younger than I realize. At the risk of sounding pretentious (a risk which has never stopped me before), I've always felt very old, and I think it is true that I've always been "old" for my age. Now, however, I've realized that by "old" I meant "mature," and I'm still actually quite young.
Perhaps this little realization has come from my dislike of young people complaining about getting old or remarking on how old they are. It's done by everyone--I do it too--and it's annoying. Even if it's not meant to be, the habit is insulting to people older than we are who consider themselves young. Young is a mindset. It is not connected to age, and if we're feeling old at this point, we need to reevaluate our lives. If we define old as having lived through at least one historical event, then I suppose having seen footage of the Berlin wall coming down ages us just a little bit. A separate discussion would be about the differences between people born at least 6 years before the fall of the wall, and people who were too young to remember it. Soon, the young kids who witnessed 9/11 will have trouble relating to those who were born just recently. I digress. My point was that as a reaction to an annoying habit that my peers have, I tend to remark on how young I am.
Apart from that, the realization more likely came from having to make huge decisions about my life this year. As I thought these issues over, I tried to remember what I had done at other times in my life when my life was about to change, and I realized I didn't have a whole lot of huge-decision-making experience. I suppose you could say I've had a lot of character experience, but not a lot of real life experience.
Same old, same old, we all know it. And some way or another we are able to make these important decisions and not fuck up our lives too much.
Like most other students, I reflected on my senior year of high school and how I made my decisions then. It seemed as if there were always small, seemingly insignificant factors which inlfuenced which choices I had, and then I'd be hit with an inspiration, divine knowledge of which of those choices I'd end up choosing, and I'd choose it. The outcome was one hundred percent guaranteed to come true, no matter what I did or wished or thought otherwise. I am fated to walk a certain path, and the events I always viewed as small influences on my future were merely hints at an eventual fate.
So I make this bold statement for all who visit this blog to read:
Next year I'm moving to California. I'll have some full-time, daytime job. In my free time I will work on my writing career. I am now a physicist, but next year I will be a writer. Through a tiny amount of skill and a lot of persistence and hard work, I will earn some money for my writing--any money, $200 from a magazine submission, or more from a great novel. I will try to create my own business, or a business model I can use in the future. Through persistence and hard work, I will become Jack Black's friend. And I will do this all with the goal of having a significant, positive impact on humanity.
Good luck to the rest of you, young and old, figuring out what your life plans are.