Someone asked me what’s my plan… I don’t know

Posted: March 5, 2014 by jennroig in Commentary, English, Women don't Cry
Tags: , , , , ,

It happened today at midday. I was talking about possible job opportunities in my field, in this part of the world, and I heard that same question… once again. What’s your plan? Where do you want to go? What do you feel passionate about? What do you see yourself doing in 5 or 10 years?

Wheatfield with Crows, 1890, Van Gogh

Wheatfield with Crows, 1890, Van Gogh

Those questions keep popping along the way, and I keep freaking out because I either find myself lying, pretending to be a different persona, or showing to the other person the “seemingly” scary fact that I don’t think my life in those terms. At least I don’t do so anymore.

And I mean it, in every possible way… It’s about vocation, career, family, geography… I’m thinking now, how does this person I was talking to earlier see me right now? How unusual is it to find people who haven’t come up with a detailed goal for their future? “If you don’t have a goal, then you can’t create a strategy and you will find out years from now that you wasted your time”. That’s what I keep listening. I’m getting scared it might be true, and still I can’t find inside -in my “gut”, in my “heart”, in my “soul”- the answer to that question.

I guess, maybe it is so because those answers have never worked out for me… I remember at some point when I was a little girl, I wanted to become a ballet dancer like Alicia Alonso. That could have been a great dream to pursue in Cuba, where there’s real access to fantastic Arts schools for elementary students, but it wasn’t realistic for me. My body wasn’t built that way. In order to accomplish a dream, you need more than desire, you need attitude, skills, talent, you even need the right body shape. You must show some qualities you gotta be born with. I also remember I wanted to become an astronaut. That didn’t go far for obvious reasons…

By the time I was 15, I had made up my mind that I would go to the University of Havana to study Journalism. That’s quite a challenge in Cuba, if you consider the odds of actually achieving that. I managed. And once you are inside the uni, the rest is easy. You don’t need any special skills or a super talent to graduate. The classic writing skills, curiosity, love for literature and a certain inclination to public service should be enough.

At Eternity's Gate, Van Gogh

At Eternity’s Gate, Van Gogh

But then life happens. You find yourself in a country with little to no actual opportunities to make a living, to evolve as professional or human. Then you gotta find a way to go… go some place, anywhere. I went inside myself first. I managed to get accepted as screenwriting student at the EICTV, where I found everything and nothing. I found everlasting friends, I found love and hate, I learned about myself, my potentialities, weaknesses, strengths, wishes… I got rid of prejudices and fears. I got introduced to a powerful and wonderful world of telling stories with images, beautiful and emotional images and stories… I cherish every minute of those three years. But that period had to be over, and the way I found to move on was going to Europe to enroll in a master program: the Erasmus Mundus Master Journalism within Globalization, European Perspective, as it used to be called.

And I didn’t go there because I specifically worked for it and I aimed at that particular opportunity and I succeeded… It wasn’t like that, I applied to bunch of programs and I was only picked by that one. Indeed, I was super was lucky it was a great program, but I didn’t visualized myself there. I just wanted to runaway from Havana, from my future in Cuba.

Later when I was in Germany, finishing my research thesis and about to run out of the scholarship money and my student visa about to expire, I was desperate again. I needed to run again to any place in this world where I could go, where I could fit. That’s how I got to Chile. Once more it was about knocking a thousand doors and going through the first one, and only one, that actually opened for me. See the trend here? It’s about taking opportunities, it’s about being aware and observant and willing to turn right or left if necessary.

I’m 32, I’ve been in the USA for more than a year, and I already have the work permit. I need a job. When I’ll get the job, then I will be able to think in terms of a career. Or not. Or something will happen again and everything will change. Maybe the poles melt, Florida sinks, and we all need to runaway again. Maybe I fall in love and get pregnant and mutate into a loving suburban housewife -that’s so not likely, but still… I can’t have a plan if I deeply believe that I need to remain open to changes, and opportunities and possibilities. I tend to think that if one gets very focused on just one way, a beautiful world and great landscapes will pass by and no one will notice. Sometimes I find myself thinking in those remote, isolated places, where I’ve seen the most beautiful sunsets or beaches or trees or abandoned ruins, for a moment, and then have to go… Those places are still there, if you don’t look around to find them, do they exist at all? Would it be my loss instead?

Can someone tell me the words, the right words to answer that question? No one can do that job for me.

However, I am not sure if that question needs to be answered at all. What if we are just different from one another and some of us won’t ever live according a schedule or strategy? I have traveled. I have met people in different countries and I have friends all over. I know I’m not alone in this. And I know that having born as a Cuban doesn’t help, but it doesn’t matter who you are or where were you born, I’m not the only one hitting my 30s and still feeling I’m living without a plan.

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