But I find that I am constantly asked, “What are your plans after graduation?”, “Where do you see yourself ten years from now?”, “What do you hope to accomplish in life?”, and other questions of this nature.
Let me state the obvious here: these are HUGE and LOADED questions! As a college student in her final semester, I am asked about my future plans with increasing frequency. It seems as though anyone who asks me about my future is expecting a detailed answer, as if I can simply foresee what my life is going to be like. Whenever I do take a stab at explaining my future, I generally try to say something along the lines of, “Well, I hope to be working full-time for either a publishing or editing company, I think. I want to be able to use my reading and writing skills in a job that makes me happy.” I used to think that this answer was satisfactory, but I still often get the same reaction – a simple head nod or an “Ahhh, I see!”
These kinds of reactions evoke a few different responses from me, all of which I internalize. First, I feel a wave of confusion as my answer doesn’t seem good enough to most people. Then, my mind goes into overdrive as I think about how I should maybe rethink my entire short-term plan and make it more concrete. If I come up with something more specific, maybe, I’ll get a better reaction from people – and then I stop.
Why am I so concerned with what other people think? After all, it’s MY future, my potential job prospects and life plans that I am solely in charge of pursuing. This dawned on me the other night as I was working on an assignment for one of my classes.
The prompt was to write out an answer to a series of mind-boggling questions: What happens to you in the ten years after you graduate UMass? What obstacles might you face? Tell a story or discuss what you might be doing.
I had no idea how to answer these questions, so I just started writing. I wrote about my hopes and goals, keeping everything sort of vague and focusing in on the facts that I want happiness and good health for myself and my family. I talked about the success I will work to achieve. While I might not know exactly where I’ll be ten years, I do know that my motivation, passion, and hard work will help bring me to that place.
Now, what does this have to do with diabetes? I think the most prominent commonality between the two is the drive that pushes me to take care of myself as well as accomplish certain goals that I have set for myself. The incentive to flourish as an individual will always be present for me, particularly regarding my diabetes.
So, while I don’t have the ability to un-fog the future, I do have the ability to control it using my motivation to thrive – not just in terms of my diabetes, but in every other aspect of my life.