Now, before you guys get too excited, this post has nothing to do with Ludacris and his hit song. I’m sorry. But it does have to do with dreaming! I tend to be a daydreamer. I make up crazy scenarios in my head, coming up with fairytale love and life stories for myself, my friends, and even random people I see on the street. I was a pretty dramatic child and though not an only child, I was the youngest kid by 5 years so I played alone a lot. My imagination was always active and thorough.
As a kid, I was never afraid to dream and create the life I wanted for myself in my head. I lived on Mars. I had 25 ponies. I was a mermaid. I wanted to be an oceanographer when I was in 4th grade. I wanted to be a Broadway star for a couple years too. I had dreams of moving to Hawaii and becoming a professional surfer (I have never surfed in my life). I don’t know why, but I always felt the need to create a better life and, later, a better future for myself than the present world I was living in.
I always like to have some sort of plan in my mind (whether realistic or not) to help me get through the days that seem rather mundane — something to look forward to, something to work towards. Though as I’ve gotten older and a little less naïve, I’ve realized that though I wish I could reach for the stars and dream any dream, it isn’t always possible. This doesn’t mean that I don’t think people can be surfers or stars, you can if it’s in the cards for you, but those were just fantasies for me. I can’t help but beat myself up sometimes for creating “fantasies” (because trust me, I still do this now when I’m looking up airfares to Ireland where I want to live for a few months/meet the man of my dreams a la PS. I Love You) when I should have been studying, job hunting or setting up a 401K.
I’m graduating in about 15 days (but who’s counting?) and I literally have no idea where I’ll be or what I will be doing a few months from now. Will I be unemployed? Will I be filling out graduate school applications? Will I be packing up my childhood bedroom to head for the coast? I honestly have no idea, and while that idea is somewhat exciting, I cannot help but let the panic set in. Every time someone asks me what I am doing after I graduate and I reply with a giggle and an, “I don’t know!” I feel like more and more of a failure. I was supposed to have a plan, wasn’t I? For a while I had a plan to move to where my Manfriend was, but that was a bust. I also had dreams of moving to Chicago, only an hour away from my hometown, and living with old friends and making new ones at some great job at a really cool company. I also had dreams of taking time off, traveling, and doing nothing at all. Sometimes I don’t even know what I’ll eat for dinner or wear tomorrow, how the hell am I supposed to decide what I want to do after graduation?
I don’t want to become a jaded post-grad like some I’ve encountered. I want to be realistic and not set myself up for disappointment, but I also don’t want to settle and end up doing something that I don’t love to do. As a soon-to-be college graduate, I feel that I need a plan because of the surrounding pressure from my family, friends and professors who tell me that if I take a break, if I let a lull into my life, I could end up never getting back into the groove—the groove of being a determined and diligent “young adult.” Whatever that means anymore. I just want to have some sort of idea of what is next for me (and I have some, trust me) and they’re realistic and attainable, but it’s still scary to not have anything definite. This uncertainty is frightening and a little unsettling, but it’s not going to stop me from being the daydreamer I have always been.
I believe in dreaming (day and night). I believe in projecting a future for yourself that makes you happy. I believe in doing everything in your power to attain the things you want for yourself — love, security, friendship, independence, or whatever you so please. I want everyone to know that it’s perfectly okay to dream and let your mind wander because that’s when you find out what you really want. When you let your thoughts take you places, you can get to somewhere you’d never thought you could.
Katie is finishing up her undergrad at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. She enjoys wasting hours on Facebook and tweeting things no one cares about. When asked the question, “Do you do marathons?” She promptly responds, “Of course! Which show?” Follow her @KatieGarrity! Or read her personal blog where she talks incessantly about Ryan Gosling and hummus here!