My mind loves to wander. I will be driving to work or pushing a shopping cart in the grocery store and suddenly I realize that I’ve been thinking about redwood trees or beluga whales or World War II or whether lions and bobcats have the same reaction to catnip as house cats. What about cheetahs? I’m often not sure how these particular thoughts came into my head or what I should do with them once they settle in, but I try to embrace them. Who knows which stray thought might lead to something bigger?
Lately, I have caught myself pondering Emily Dickinson‘s poem about possibility. Particularly the first line, “I dwell in Possibility.”
I guess I’d always imagined this version of “possibility” as Hogwarts with its endless rooms, moving staircases, secret passages, hidden chambers–even the Great Hall’s ceiling which had been bewitched to look like the sky above. Do you think J.K. Rowling had this poem in mind when she designed the school? [If anyone knows her, please ask, because I’d really like to know!] Come to think of it, Hogwarts even has its very own private lake which in turn holds its own underwater world of unknowns. Dwelling in Possibility sounded like the best situation ever, I mean what kid in the Harry Potter Generation didn’t want to go to Hogwarts?
Lately, though, I’ve started to view “dwelling in possibility” from a very different perspective. Since graduating from college three years ago, I have dwelt in nothing but possibility. I have hopped from temporary employment to temporary employment, from potential career path to potential career path, from small town to small city.
I have no idea what my life will look like one year from today. Will I have a full time job? Will I have my own apartment? Will I be living in the same city? The same state? I can’t picture it.
I always thought living in Possibility would be freedom, but in reality I have found it utterly terrifying. Well, sometimes, that is. True, the financial burden is daunting. Sure, it’s difficult to see all my friends coupling up and settling down with families of their own. Yes, it would be nice to have a few certainties or definitive life goals to direct myself toward. I would definitely like to answer the inevitable variations of “What are you doing with your life?” with a single sentence. And yet.
I find there is still some magic left for me in Possibility. I enjoy the mystery of what lies a few months down the road or the future acquaintance that could change the course of everything. I was once asked by a job interviewer, “What drives you?” A question to which he felt I didn’t have a satisfactory answer. The truth is, the potential energy of “what if?” is what keeps me going. I’m not quite ready to be completely pinned down and defined. I am not ready for my life choices to fit in a single sentence. That’s why I am wanderlost (at least for now).