Saturday, July 4, 2009

Dispatches from the Pennsylvanian Frontier...

I'm sitting in the living room of the family I'm staying with sipping coffee and doing one of my favorite things of all time: watching Le Tour de France!

Today is day one and I'm pumped. I wait 11 months every year for this almost-a-month-long race. There's something about it that I can't quite put my finger on. Maybe it's the lasting excitement of waking up for three weeks without knowing who's going to come out on top. Maybe it's the intense athleticism and seeing human beings reach our potential. I think today my favorite part of it is the teamwork; I love the purity of the communal effort to give one man, the leader of the team, a title which will glorify them all. It's inspiring. This year should be interesting with so many superstars on team Astana (Lance Armstrong of course, Alberto Contador, Levi Leipheimer, Chris Horner, and Popovych) to see who they choose to rally behind, but that'll just add to the excitement.

Woohoo! What a way to kick off the fourth!

Later today I'm headed to Gettysburg. I'm in PA right now and it's the fourth of July, the anniversary of the Gettysburg battle. I can't imagine a better time and place to celebrate my nation and think about exactly what that means to me.

Personally, I'm doing well. I'm resting my legs for a while after two weeks of being on the rack of ballet. I'm doing great, learning a lot (I'm already seeing myself make huge improvements over the two weeks here), meeting lots of people, and really enjoying myself. Here's the thing that's been on my mind lately:

I'm 21. This is a year for me to make some huge decisions and I don't know what to do. I'm torn between choosing between the future I think will be safe and practical and choosing the things which might be more of a bet.

I could go to grad school or law school and follow the simple future. It would surely be difficult, but at least practical and leading to a solid career.

OR I could go to a school for ballet. I could give everything I've got and bet on myself that I could make it happen as a professional dancer. I'm old and I started late, but few people have a better work ethic than me and few people have my determination and passion. It's strange to think about. I truly could make it work, but there's more at stake than that. Am I going to be able to pay off my student loans? What am I going to do when my shelf life as a dancer is up?

There are so many ifs and buts, but here's my big question: If I don't go after my dancing and do chase a dream I've got, will I regret it? Will I be content with myself if I don't try? I don't know. I'm hoping that the next month or so will give me an answer I can live with.

I'm a rather dramatic person these days, huh? Hmmmmm. Sorry about that.


Mozart said...

There was a time when I would have given anything to visit the Gettysburg battlefield...

Hmmmmm. You know, I'm the polar opposite to you when it comes to long-term plans and decision making, so maybe finding a nice compromise between the two extremes is the way to go.

Following your dreams, pursuing your potential, and doing what makes you happy--that can't be overestimated. But at the same time, practicality calls and, like it or not, money is necessary for, um, living and stuff. And you've told me that you eventually want to settle down and have a family...where does that fit in? Then again, school will wait and ballet won't...but the sooner you start working on a goal, the greater your odds of eventual success.

In the end, guidance counselors, parents, and friends can only tell you so much. You have to decide what's best for you (but that was a no-brainer, wasn't it?).

You've got a lot of things to consider, and some big decisions to make. Good luck.

secret agent woman said...

Is it either/or? Because there is also the option of pursuing dance with all your heart for a while, and then (if you want to) gong back to grad school. I know someone who is just post-college and pursuing ice skating. But he then intends to get a degree in math and teach.