I’ve always been the girl who knew exactly what she wanted from life. I started piano lessons at age 8 and ever since then I have known precisely what I wanted from life. To be a pianist. To play music professionally. To teach music professionally. At age 12, my new piano teacher asked me what I wanted from music lessons, “To be a concert pianist,” I answered confidently. Now, exactly a decade later, I have no idea what I want to do with my life.
In January of this year, I had a massive quarter-life-crisis. I was a senior pursuing my degree in Piano Performance, had just submitted eight graduate school applications to prestigious music schools across the country, and then suddenly, I realized I didn’t want any of it anymore. I didn’t want the stress, I didn’t want the anxiety, I didn’t want the depression, I didn’t want the crippling stage fright, I didn’t want to lock myself in a practice room for five hours every day, I didn’t want to isolate myself from my friends and family, I didn’t want the lack of sleep, and I didn’t want the silent tears of frustration and loneliness every time I sat down on the piano bench in the lonely practice room. Once I made this decision I was suddenly terrified because before I had always known exactly who I was and what I wanted from life. I was used to introducing myself by saying, “I’m a pianist,” and “I can’t come to your party; I have to practice,” had been my answer to invitations for so long. Being a pianist had always been one of the largest parts of my identity. Now I was lost.
News flash: I am still lost but I did make some decisions. I decided not to graduate in May of 2016. Instead I added an English Education major. And a political science minor. And I’ll be in school for at least two more years. After that, I have no idea! However, ever since I was 4 years old, I have been reading everything I can get my hands on. I was 6 when I started keeping my first journal. Clearly, reading and writing have always been an integral part of my being. I have been debating politics with my dad since I started listening to conservative talk radio at age 13 and this election year is holding me as a riveted hostage. But how I will turn these interests into a career is the great mystery of my existence.
This summer has been hard for me. For the first time in my life, I have the summer free. I don’t have a long list of repertoire and scales that must be perfected before school starts. I don’t have to practice for 7 hours a day. After the initial thrill of freedom wore off, I suddenly began to feel pangs of panic.
“What am I doing with my life?”
“How can I be the hard working, ambitious woman that I’ve always been if I don’t know what to work for?”
“What will the future hold?”
These questions remain unanswered but instead of focusing on fear, I have instead decided to turn my energy onto this blog. Instead of worrying and stressing about what I want to do after graduation, I will write here. Until I get that dream job of writing as a political correspondent for Vogue magazine, this blog will have to do.
Stay tuned for my next post where I will explain my vision for The Culture Columns and what kind of posts you can expect in the future.