That One Question


I have come to the conclusion that every adult enjoys watching the pure terror that washes over a college senior’s face when asked the most worn out question in the history of the world, “So what are your plans for after graduation?”

That being said, I do take pleasure in responding with some ludicrous plan to sell my body or write novels on napkins.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that some may have good intentions when asking this question, and I do appreciate their attempted interest. But for the love of all things holy, at what point did a flashing, neon sign appear above my head that reads, please reinforce my total lack of preparedness for the real world?

Once upon a time, my babysitters seemed eons ahead of me in the world. They had boyfriends with facial hair. They wore perfume and carried purses. Yet here I am, twenty-one, at least three or four years older than those babysitters had been, and I still don’t have a signature scent.

We spend all our lives fighting our parents and telling them how grown-up we are, but are we really? Because I still like to wear my fleece pajama bottoms with the puppies on them; and I still need my mom’s help when it comes to cooking. We’re supposed to reach our senior years with this newfound sense of confidence and maturity, ready to take on the big bad world. I can’t be the only person who feels wildly inadequate to take on adulthood. If I am, don’t tell me. I find comfort in the delusion of a shared fear of the future.

Perhaps it’s okay that we don’t always know how to answer that question. Perhaps it’s the brainstorming that’s important, the minutes or hours spent googling or frantically rearranging our portfolios. You see, when someone asks us what we have planned for ourselves, we’re reminded that life is rolling on. We’re reminded that twenty-something will soon be forty-something, and that those first-day-of-school pictures are not the yesterdays we remember. It’s scary, but it’s true.

So here is my question to you: what do you have planned?


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