Recently, I was lucky enough to see that classic Chicago sunset from the top of a rooftop deck, right in front of Millennium Park. From a bird’s eye view, you can see how the Windy City is organized on a grid system. I realized that no matter which way you walk in Chicago, you always know where you’ll end up.
If only life as a millennial could be that linear. But as a twenty-something, you’ll find yourself re-routing, doing U-turns, or winding up on dead-end streets. Sometimes, it’s hard just getting started.
One day, you’ve got a job—the next, the Recession forces your employer to lay you off. Maybe you spend all day at work looking at grad school programs in Brazil. Perhaps your degree in Holistic Underwater Basket Weaving isn’t paying the bills. Whatever situation you find yourself in, it seems like the paths are always changing.
You constantly have to ask yourself: “What road do you want to go down?”
Up until college, you didn’t even think about this. The only question you had to ask was, “Should I go to a frat or a house party tonight?” Basically, you knew what was expected of you (and what you expected out of your weekends). Get good grades to go to college; Get good grades in college; and get a good job. You thought were following a grid or at least, a reasonable plan.
If you’re a recent college grad, you might now be realizing that you’ll have to throw your internal grid system away. Part of becoming an adult is figuring out how to create your own path.
Maybe a good strategy is not knowing (or caring) where you’re going. Sure, you might hit a few dead ends and have to turn-around, but isn’t that better than admitting hopeless confusion? If you wander from street to street, you make the decisions yourself. Nobody will tell you what road to go down. Even if they did, you probably wouldn’t listen.
So, that being said, here’s the best, non-directional and most clichéd advice my mom ever gave me: “You never know what’s around the corner.”
That’s true. Even when you’re living on a grid.