So, I was talking to one of my torches (think, “flame,” but… a different kind), Jacob (not the same Jacob that I grew up with and had a crush on in third grade — that one’s lost on Girlfriend Island and I haven’t really seen him since. Well, except that one time that we and my then-boyfriend drank Two Buck Chuck on a playground near our childhood homes. If you’re reading this, Jacob, I miss you! Text me back! Please! Digression aside…), last night.
Now, for the last like, four or five years, it’s been his life dream to move to New York City and enroll in Pratt’s creative writing program. And it’s been sort of one of those touch-and-go can’t-save-enough-money, stuck-in-endless-low-paying-jobs, can’t-excel-ever types of things. And I feel terrible about it, and wish there was something I could do to help.
Instead, what am I doing? I’m doing it myself. Moving to New York City, hoping to procure some sort of job in the writing/editing field. Am I an asshole, or what? I mean, it’s not like my goal is to just snatch someone else’s dream up and accomplish it before they can. Hell, I hope that my moving might even motivate him to do it quicker (Um, hello? Use me as a bed if you have to?) But, bottom line is, we talked about it, and I told him this, “Do you feel like… I don’t know, bitter at me about the fact that I’ve basically just snagged your life goal and made it happen for myself within the last six months or so?”
“Oh, wow,” he said, surprise evident. “I didn’t even think about it that way. I never really realized that until you just said it right now.”
Then he got silent.
“Are you okay? Did I just make you angry at me?”
More silence. Then some rustling.
“…Are you okay? Are you crying?”
“Hmm? No, I was chugging wine, sorry.”
My turn for silence, and then I asked again, “Are you upset with me? Are you upset at all?”
“No, I don’t even know what I’m feeling right now. It’s… not bad, though. I don’t think I’ve ever actually felt this proud and genuinely happy for someone before. It’s kind of a new feeling? I’m really happy for you, I just… didn’t even realize it, but you’re right.”
He sounded confused. He sounded sad, but I could tell he meant his words. It wasn’t even a bittersweet tone, yet I’d never heard his voice like that before. I don’t know what it was. So, I guess, step one was achieved: obtain support.
I suppose the point of telling this story was just to illustrate something I’ve learned in the past year: I can’t make decisions for other people. I can’t even really properly help people make decisions, even if they come to me for advice. I can offer suggestions, but ultimately, the only person whose life I can change is my own.
Good thing I can do that much. Look out New York, I’m a-coming!
Did you know? “Move to New York City” is goal number eleven in my list of 101 Things to do in 1001 Days? No? Well you do now! Hop to!