Sunday, January 20, 2008

Reflections

A few days ago I had a conversation with one of my friends about the importance of being able to imagine what it is you want to accomplish or where it is you want to be. It made me think: is that ability really important? Does the fact that I often say I can't imagine being married or finding another job or ever having children really hinder my ability to do these things? Am I psyching myself out?

Perhaps not.

I remember laying in my bed in Moscow the night before my family left everything behind and flew to New York and then to Seattle. I was 13. I had never been on a plane before. And there I was trying to fall asleep while imagining what it would be like to wake up the next morning, get into a car, drive to the airport, board a plane and then land on a different continent, where people speak a foreign language, where we would know no one other than my grandfather's sister's family. Of course I could not imagine it. I was scared. I was unhappy to leave my friends, my school, the city where I was born and raised and go towards the unknown. And yet it happened.

The summer before my senior year in college I decided to go to Israel for a month to teach English to children in a summer camp. I did not know anyone I would work with, where I would live, and whether or not I would be able to bond with the children. My main goal was to do something in my life for the first time that was completely my own. This was the biggest experience I was going to have without Anna by my side. And even though I could not see it in my mind, it turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences I've had so far. I lived with an amazingly welcoming and warm host family, traveled to several cities in Israel and spent a few weeks with my relatives who left Russia in the 70ies.

After finishing college and getting a job offer to work in DC I had a hard time imagining leaving my home in Seattle and flying across the country and for the first time living by myself, in an apartment I had only seen in pictures, going to the job I hardly knew anything about, and being absolutely independent. And yet it happened.

I could not imagine going salsa dancing on my own, and 5 years later I can't imagine my life without dancing. I could not imagine joining a dancing group, and yet I've been practicing rueda for a few months now and it is something I look forward to doing weekly.

So perhaps being able to imagine your next step is not absolutely necessary. Maybe some things in life happen regardless of our ability to see them in our minds first. But maybe, just in case, I should create a collage reflecting what I want my life to be, and have it inspire me to get it. That is once I decide what it is I want.

4 comments:

Leonid said...

Здравствуй, дорогая Олечка! Очень интересно и умно написала, молодец. Как сказал поэт: Нам не
дано предугадать... Но надеяться на лучшее хочется. Целую, папа.

cia007girl said...

Great examples, but I think the point of imaginaning has some other applications. Like looking and working toward something that you are dreaming about, rather than thinking that it'll never happen.

I can NOT believe that Dad commented on your blog!

Valeria said...

I think it's ok not to know what the future holds, what's most important is not to be afraid of the future. You are an independent smart girl so whatever comes your way, you'll be able to handle it when you have to. I think it's perfectly fine to enjoy your life one day at a time. Also it's part of growing up realizing that some of your dreams might not come true, however, that doesn't mean that some other dreams won't.

The Poor Dispositionist said...

I know a lot of people, once myself included, who had to be married, have the perfect job, etc... Years later those same people found themselves divorced, stuck in a rut at work, etc... I wish when I was younger someone had explained to me that its not the marriage that is the goal, but the ability to have meaningful relationships; that's its not the job or money that matters, but how what you do contributes to your life and the world. I think you've accomplished quite a bit Olga, enough that I'm sometimes jealous.