24: The year of building the beyond

When I dream, I dream big. I can envision the happy ending and the amazing success story. The only problem is I leave my dreams up in the sky and take little time to build the ladder of goals that will help me climb my way up.  I seemed to have a knack for letting those building blocks called goals fall by the wayside, leaving my dreams very much dreams and an ever distant, nonexistent reality.

Whatever the case, whether my outlook for a semester, to getting in shape, I never quite make goals to strive for but rather leave the big vision waving in the distance.  I’ve always had idealistic views of how I wanted things to look down the road, but never seemed to map out the baby steps to get there.  For me, this is unusual seeing as I seem to plan out every little thing.  Picking out classes for a semester was like the NFL draft – every class needed to fit just fight to make for the perfect mix of a comfortable schedule, with challenging, yet flexible professors and classes that I would enjoy and not just stare at the clock most of class.  Then there’s my finances, breaking down how much from each weekly paycheck I need to put away for a car payment, insurance, credit car bills, gas, so on and so forth.

Planning has seemed to help me quite a bit.  At 24 years old, I have a credit score of 762 – something a car salesman couldn’t lift his jaw off the floor after finding out.  I have never had a single penny of debt – aside from the car payments and student loans I’ll now be paying off since I’m now an adult (gulp!).  Even my schooling was filled with classes that challenged me and professors that became my friends all because I was conscientious with how I planned out my college career.  So yes, planning has paid off for me.

But it hasn’t paid off for planning my future – because, well, I haven’t planned a single thing yet.  I recently read a book called “The Defining Decade” – a book that is utterly transformational for every twentysomething.  I strongly, suggest every millennial read this book – even if you feel your life is next to perfect in the work and relationship departments, there’s always something to learn.  In this book, I found how difficult it is for twentysomethings to envision their future because they are so caught up with their present.  It’s not necessarily a bad thing because it is a good thing to live and appreciate the moment, but the future will be our present soon enough.  Just because we need to appreciate the moment and take advantage of it, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think about and work toward our futures.  I think if anything that is the biggest lesson I took from the book.  That yes, your 20s can be the best time of your life.  The youth and freedom you have can be exhilarating, but it is also the perfect time to buckle down form some solid relationships, explore the career path you have always dreamt of and realize that your 20s are the best time to become the person you want to be.  Plus, there’s still time to change the parts of you that you may not be so proud of.  It’s true because, us twentysomethings have brains that are still developing.  So kudos to still being able to improve ourselves!

I’ve decided that with my 24th year, I want to be more proactive.  I don’t just want to plan out the little things. I want to plan the big things.  The things that matter.  That’s not to say God won’t have a big laugh and say, “Wrong, Matt!” and throw a wrench into my plans, because that will almost always happen, but it never hurts to look at your future self in the mirror and be proud of who is looking back at you. I’m a big believer that our deepest desires are God’s hints to us of what our purpose on this earth is.  So I want to take a good hard look at my purpose and make sure I’m working toward it, so that I can eventually live it.

I want to be a successful writer.  I have, for the longest time, tried to look for careers that could use my passion for writing.  But I’ve come to the realization that why should I settle for a job that could simply use my skill of writing, when it can itself be my career? So, yes, I want to become a writer. I’m sick of settling for less and I want to plan the route that will get me there.  I’ve seen that while I love Buffalo, it may not be the best place to start a career as a potential television writer.  So I want to make a move to a place that will allow me to work in that industry and meet the necessary mentors to help guide my path. For this to work, I know I need to move to a place where the television industry thrives and what better place than Los Angeles? It’s on the other side of the country and loaded with millions of people and traffic that will drive me insane, but what would be even more insane would to let something like distance and traffic stop me from reaching my fullest potential.  I may make it to Los Angeles and hate it.  I may love it. I may be there for five years or twenty-five, but all I know is this is the first step of being where the industry is and giving my writer-self the best opportunity to succeed.  So now begins my adventures of looking for jobs and apartments in the City of Angels. Wish me luck!

There are other visions I have for myself.  I’d love to be a dad someday.  As much as I have joked in the past that kids are the best form of birth control, I still could see myself being the coolest dad known to earth. My kid would rock fashion the faux-pas of mixing stripes and plaid, but would hear all my stories and surely be able to tell some hysterical jokes at school. I think I’d be a cool dad and while I don’t want to add “dad” to my list of titles for many, many, many, many, many years, it’s still nice to have that as a part of the person I want to be.

Besides a career and family, I’d say that I want to be happy.  I know it’s elusive to say.  How do you plan for happiness? My idea of happiness is more introspective. I’m a happy-go-lucky guy, but it doesn’t mean I’m immune to aggravation. I want to find happiness in myself and in my faults and talents. That comes with realizing some relationships are temporary, crappy things happen to wonderful people, you can’t control the world and that your path is bound to have some unexpected twists in it. When you are happy at your core, you can see things, people and experiences for what they are.  You can see messages in the messes and silver-linings on the grayest of days. When you are happy inside-out, nothing can conquer you.

So, yes, 24 will be a crazy, wonderful, scary, heartbreakingly fulfilling year.  I plan to plan things big and small, concrete and abstract, but know that it can only ever work, if I give myself the chance to build myself up to my dreams, feeling them and living them. What awaits me beyond my present is completely unknown, but something I am excited to explore! So here’s to 24 – the year of building my beyond!

 

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