Well it's hard to believe, but my time in the Hamptons is almost finished. In exactly one week I will be headed back home to New Jersey with the beach in my rearview mirror and the open road in front of me. I must say, this past summer has been on of the most interesting summers I have ever had. In a way, it felt like another semester abroad. I went somewhere on my own and for the most part had to make new friends, survive, and find a way to suport myself. The whole point of coming here was so I could have "one last summer vacation" before "real life" began, but now, I'm starting to realize that I am living my "real life".
My summer in the Hamptons was merely the first chapter of my life post-college. I mean, sure, it was a little cushy (making hundreds of dollars in only a few hours by night and sunning myself on the beach by day), but it was still a part of my journey and I learned a lot about myself.
I think many college graduates like myself look at finding a job as very black and white. You go to college, you graduate, you get a job. The problem for me is, I simply cannot justify living my life that way. Ever since I was little, my imagination has been on overdrive and I live in this fantastical world that's not exactly in tune with the rest of reality. For example, I always pictured myself as a well-respected actor/writer who was well-liked, influential and a good role model. But then I thought: what if the things I imagine for myself are my reality? I mean, if I think about what I want passionately enough, who's to say that it won't come true? There is a quote I love by a woman named Gloria Steinem that says, "Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning."
In my heart of hearts I know that I can't just settle into a menial job, earn an average salary and pay for my boring expenses. I know people, both older and my age, that are doing just that. One of the things I learned this summer about myself is that one of my greatest fears is complacency. I know I can't be the guy who drives to work every morning in rush hour with everyone else in bumper to bumper traffic. It's just not me.
And I know that there are people, my peers as well as my elders, who feel similar. They want to explore different opportunities and do exactly what they've always dreamed of, but for whatever reason, they take the safe path and make choices that bring about security instead of happiness.
That will not be me.
For myself, and for all those other people out there who didn't take that internship they really wanted, or didn't major in their area of choice because it seemed too far fetched, or didn't "seize the moment", I want to dedicate my life to doing exactly what it is that I want to do. I don't want to have regrets about how my life turned out. I want to be able to look at it and say, "Yeah, I did that. Maybe it wasn't the best idea at the time, or maybe it was, but I did it because I wanted to and I learned from the experience."
So maybe this summer was just a precursor to what my life will bring. Maybe it will be cushy and fun, and me being able to work minimal hours for great pay (one can only hope). And even if there are speed bumps along the way that force me into a meaningless career to pay the bills, I promise that it will only be temporary. I feel that I have too much to live for, and I think everyone in their own respect does too.