I loved college.
Most people do. It’s pretty amazing. If you’re lucky (and I was), you find your tribe of people, and you enjoy this time filled with hope and freedom and dreams and possibility: infinite hallways of open doors, leading down infinite paths of infinite opportunity. And you can choose: any hallway, any door you want.
If college is an ocean of possibility, graduation is voluntarily swimming into a net to be caught up, and taking a career is being transplanted into a comfortable, if boring and predictable, fishbowl.
I'd done just that, and when I’d finally gotten settled in my little bowl, I got fished out of it and dropped somewhere...else.
I’m still flopping around, gasping for breath, and I feel like there’s no way I’m going to survive outside of the environment for which I was trained.
Because when I graduated, I never fathomed that my health would keep me from working. It was absolutely inconceivable.
I was sent out into the real world with a fistful of glowing recommendation letters, a semester’s experience of student teaching at an inner-city school (which was hard, but, in retrospect, turned out to be great preparation), and a degree, and I believed that this would be enough.
This was not enough preparation, however. For success, maybe.
But not for failure.
So here I am, a fish out of water, stranded in this strange new environment, and I am desperate to adapt. My body is no longer equipped for life in the bowl: I have limitations that prevent me from working the job I trained for, from using the college degree that I paid for with four years of my life, but neither am I equipped for life outside the bowl.
I am still trying to figure out what to do with myself.
I spent two weeks carefully considering my 2016 resolutions. My 2015 resolutions were too ambitious and specific, and they relied too much on the doings of others than on things within my own control. (I wanted to publish two books. Well, I can only write them. Other people have to decide to publish them on my behalf, and I sent out tons of query letters, but to no success. I did everything I could, but that goal was out of my hands.)
Finding the gumption to try again is hard.
If I can no longer swim and I lack the legs to stand where I am, then I must gather the resources that are available to me and put them to use. No one will pull me up.
Today, I finally, after two weeks of breaking apart and puzzling back together the words, composed my 2016 resolution. And I have only one, even though I'm not entirely sure what it means. But it feels right, and it feels powerful:
Build wings and fly.