This story began during my junior year of high school. During prom season, specifically. I was on a quest to find a dress for junior prom and, like usual, I set very high standards for what I wanted: minimal sparkles, preferably not strapless, bright color, nice fit, flattering and a (somewhat) reasonable price. I wanted THE dress. Did I know exactly what that dress looked like? No, but that dress was out there, I knew it.
Many weeks, many stores and three dresses purchased and returned (buyer’s remorse) I walked into Saks on a whim and saw my dress. THE dress. I ran right up to it, took it off the rack, and hugged it (really). That was it. I never felt so happy with a decision. It was the perfect dress.
Years later I think about that dress often and not because of how beautiful it is. I think about it because even though it wasn’t a huge decision in the grand scheme, it is the only decision since then in which I’ve been 100% confident. No doubts or uncertainties, it was crystal-clear.
That dress gave me high standards. I thought I would get that feeling again when making future decisions such as college, major, career, where to live, etc. I assumed that if I didn’t get that feeling, it wasn’t the right answer and I should keep looking. I toured MANY college campuses waiting to fall completely in love. I spent days and days reading about potential majors and career paths waiting to find one that fit my requirements. More recently, I moved to NYC this summer in hopes that I would get the definite feeling that this was where I should move after college.
Well, if I’ve learned anything since junior prom it is that there are no clear-cut answers in life.
I put a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to decision-making. I tend to overthink, which is not a new revelation if you’ve read here for more than a week. I am fully focused on the future and making choices to benefit the long-run. While we should plan ahead, sometimes admitting uncertainty is healthy. I honestly used to fear the words “I don’t know.” Now? I DON’T KNOW. I can say it loud and proud. I don’t have all (or any of) the answers.
Maybe one day I’ll get that feeling again, maybe not. I know now that I don’t need to be head-over-heels in love with something for it to be the right choice. Things aren’t black-and-white and I’m actually starting to like that.
*The point of my story: Did I get that prom dress feeling about NYC that I hoped for? No. Do I know for certain if I want to live in NYC after graduation? No. Do I know what in the hell I want to do after graduation? No. But it feels oddly okay to NOT know this time.
There’s more than one way to happiness and even if I take a few “wrong” turns, I will get there.