Writing into the Unknown

In general, I’m the kind of person that, once I know what I want, pursues it wholeheartedly.  I see my destination and nothing stands in my way.  Perfection is an impossibility and failure is inevitable–bearing this in mind, I push forward towards my goals.  This mindset has led to participating in the Minnesota State Speech tournament in high school, becoming part of Program Staff at camp, spending a semester studying abroad, and graduating college with top grades.  Once I know what I want, I form a strategy.  Step by step, I find a way.

But what happens when I don’t know what I want?

How do I push forward if I don’t know the direction?  People from all sides, from family members to strangers, are bombarding me with questions.  “Where are you going, Amelia?  How will you get there?”

To the world, I must look incredibly foolish.  Here I am, a twenty-something college grad living at home with no notion of where I actually want to go in life.  To cope with the unknown, I’ve resigned to taking things one step at a time.  I take the opportunities before me and hope that they lead me where I’m supposed to go.

A lot of my perspective on my future has to do with my faith.  I feel like God is deliberately keeping me in the dark.  I know that He has a plan for my life that is better than anything I can come up with on my own.  I want to pursue that.  When it comes down to it, I DO know what I want out of life.  I want my purpose and reason for living to be for God.  I have inklings of what I think He wants me to do.  I feel like God wants me to return to Europe–it’s always there, nagging at the back of my mind.  I also feel like God wants me to write.  But what does that look like?  Where in Europe should I go?  What should I do there?  How will I get there?  What should I write?

How do I pursue the unarticulated passions of my spirit and meet social expectations?  How do I balance blind faith with the pressures of stepping into full-fledged adulthood?  How do I move forward if I don’t know what I want?

I’m making this up one step at a time.  I’ve got two jobs right now.  Both will be done by Christmas.  Once Christmas has passed, I’m attending Urbana, the largest student missions conference in the world.  After that… Who knows?  Maybe, at the conference, my passions will finally be articulated and I’ll have a clear path.  Maybe I’ll find a missions organization to partner with and be on my way to wherever I’m supposed to go.  Maybe nothing will happen at all and I’ll find a full-time job and move to the cities.

I hate, hate, hate appearing foolish.  I hate the disapproval that comes from not having it figured out.  I hate that I know my extended family has conversations about what a hopeless floater I am behind my back.  The other day, my mom said something to me to the effect of, “Amelia, it’s really hard on us to see you like this.”  To which I responded, “It’s hard for you?  Try being stuck here.”

I know there will come a time when the pieces will align.  I know that I’ll end up somewhere.  Some days, I’m really positive and optimistic about the future.  Today isn’t really one of those days.  Moving forward is hard when I don’t know when I want to go.  For the time being, I suppose all I really can do is ignore the pressure and step blindly in a direction.

I’ve asked a lot of questions in this post that I don’t have answers to.  But they’re questions that need to be asked.  These things need to be articulated.  In an earlier paragraph, I stated that I feel like God wants me to write.  What does He want me to write about?  My answer: THIS.  I need to put my frustrations into words.  Maybe, as the unknowns solidify into nouns and verbs, I’ll find that my passions are finally articulated.  Maybe, through the act of writing, my destination will present itself.  I’ll continue to write until I find out.

Photo from Unsplash
Photo from Unsplash

Sunshine Bloggers Award

Once again, I’m a bit behind regarding awards.  Oh well!  Better late than never!sunshine-blogger-award-300x300

A while back, Aimee from Pocket Writes nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award!  It’s always an honor to be considered–especially since this award has to do with being uplifting and encouraging.  Thank you so much, Aimee!

Every award is different and this one involves three things: thank the person who nominated you, answer the given questions, and nominate others.  I’m covering two out of those three things.  (See my Award Policies page for more info on why.)

Now for the questions…

What is your biggest fear?

I can handle most insects, but I’m downright terrified of centipedes.  The way they move with all those legs… ICK.  On a more serious note, I think my biggest fear is mediocrity.  I want so badly to make an impact on the world, to help people and bring light and hope to dark places.  It’s so easy to fall short of dreams for the sake of what is easy and comfortable.  But I’m doing my best to make the most of each day, knowing that big dreams happen in small steps.  I’ll get there someday.

Which one thing are you addicted to?

Nutella.  Oh my gosh.  It’s dangerous how much I love Nutella.  Any jar around me needs to be locked up lest I eat the entire bottle in a terrifyingly short period of time.

Do you have any pet peeves? What are they?

I hate it when people don’t shut doors all the way.  I really dislike anything that glows in the dark when I’m trying to sleep.  Also, it drives me crazy when my parents talk in loud voices early in the morning.  My room is right next to the kitchen and the sound goes right through my door, waking me up.

What is your perfect idea of a ‘relaxation day’?

Lounging on my couch in pajamas drinking tea while reading a book or watching Netflix is absolute heaven.  I also really enjoy shopping, especially this time of year when all the stores are filled with sweaters and scarves.

How do you deal with stress?

I tend to avoid it as much as possible.  For example, in college I rarely procrastinated because the threat of being stressed was too formidable.  Most of my essays were written a week before they were due.  When stress does happen, my worldview tends to shrink to the point where I get tunnel vision.  Everything is suddenly about me, my stress, my problems.  I tend to throw a pity party for myself and forget about other people’s issues and concerns.  I think that I become a pretty icky person to be around–which is why I go to great lengths to avoid being stressed.

Which is one habit of yours you wish to improve/change?

We sell these little pumpkin-shaped chocolates at my family’s apple orchard.  Throughout the day, I constantly snitch them.  I’ve been doing this as long as I can remember.  It’s an awful habit and I sometimes feel guilty… but I also love eating chocolate.

Where’s your favorite ‘hanging out’ spot?

Probably my bedroom.  There’s nothing better than curling up in bed with a book.

How do you prefer to spend your weekends?

I currently work most weekends, but if I had them free, they would be lazy with a few social plans thrown in.  If I’m busy one day, I like to have the other to relax and recharge.  I love sleeping in, reading and drinking tea, spending time painting, or going for a morning bike ride.  Sundays involve church, but the rest of the day is mine.  I like spending afternoons doing non-energetic social things like shopping or hanging one-on-one with a friend.

Are you a movie buff? What are your favorite movies?

I wouldn’t call myself a buff, but I really enjoy watching movies and never miss watching the Oscars.  Favorites include Midnight in Paris, The Princess Bride, Ever After, While You Were Sleeping, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, The Sound of Music, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and anything from the Disney Renaissance.

Which event do you feel changed your life the most?

There have been several, but my first major life event happened my freshman year of high school.  Believe it or not, up until this point, I was a committed basketball player.  I started playing on teams as early as they were offered.  In middle school, my winters were consumed with multiple practices a night.  But as I got older, the game became more serious and it was evident that I wasn’t able to keep up.  My teammates excelled while I regressed.  I had a coach tell my mom that, “I can’t have your daughter on the court screwing things up while the other girls could be out there winning.  If anyone had been cut this year, it would have been her.  Be thankful she’s out there at all.”

Scarred from a diminishing basketball career, I entered high school and joined the marching band.  There, I made tons of new friends with whom I shared more interests than any of my former teammates.  At the end of the season, all my band friends started talking about how they were joining the Speech team once winter came.  Up until this point, I had planned on staying in sports… but I started to reconsider.  Why stick with a sport I’m not good at with people I don’t like very much when I could be giving speeches and hanging out with my friends?

Long story short, I joined Speech.  Looking back, this decision was absolutely HUGE.  Speech shaped me in ways that sports never would.  It gave me a chance to write and perform my own pieces, to become a comfortable public speaker, and hang out with my friends.  My Speech career was extremely successful–I ended up captaining the team for two years and competing in the State tournament.  In college, I was able to judge meets assist in coaching for the local high school team.  Through Speech, I gained my voice, learned leadership, and picked up critical thinking and analysis skills that I know will play a key role in my future.

What did your ten-years-younger self think you’d be doing right now?

Honestly, I don’t think twelve-year-old Amelia had many lifelong ambitions.  She wanted to go to college and someday get a boyfriend.  She’d be pleased to know that I now have a degree, but probably wouldn’t be too thrilled that her twenty-two year-old self has yet to date anyone.  It’s okay, little Amelia.  There’s still lots of time.

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Thanks, again, Aimee for the nomination!  She answered similar questions to mine, so be sure to visit her Sunshine award post to see her answers.  Check out her blog as well–she’s a really good writer, likes books, and does really cool cross-stitching.

On Growing Up

These days it feels like every time I open Facebook, someone I know has either gotten engaged, married, or pregnant.  When it started happening a few years ago, the people were my brother’s age–older, more mature.  Now, it’s my peers who are tying the knot and starting families.

Every time this happens, a little pang goes through my stomach.

I still feel like such a kid.  In my head, I’m still that ten-year old girl who often asked herself: “What do I want to be when I grow up?”  In the eyes of the world, however, I’m a legal adult starting a career.  You would think that three months of farm work and endless time spent in my head would help me put two and two together.  But I’m still relatively clueless.

I’ve thought about a lot of things.  It’s my dream of all dreams to do Christian ministry work in Europe.  But I’m beginning to see that dreams don’t happen overnight.  Any European plans are likely to be down the road.  What, then, shall I do in the meantime?

Should I go back to school and become a teacher?  Should I take the GRE, apply to grad school, and become a librarian?  Should I just take a random job, just to start somewhere, and reevaluate?  If I do the last option, should that job be in my home community?  In the cities?  In a state far away?

So many questions.  So few answers.

Why is growing up so hard?