I don't often have strong associations with words. In my first poetry seminar we were asked to write our favourite word on the board. I wrote something along the lines of 'mystery'. This was partly because I do quite like the sound of the word, and partly because I was afraid of spelling the word I actually really like the sound of the best (serendipity) wrong. But I don't have a favourite word based purely on meaning. Words alone don't tend to speak to me. But there is one word I have grown to dislike.
I hate the word after. It makes my palms clam up and gives me a sticky sensation in my stomach. Not only does it imply that the thing you are currently doing will end, but it also implies a time beyond that where you should have figured out what you're going to do.
For me, after has come in two questions recently, both of which have struck fear into my heart,
1) 'What are you going to do after you graduate?'
2) 'Do you think you're going to keep seeing him after you leave uni?'
Both of these terrify me. I love plans, I'm a big plan maker and to-do-list creator. I like to know what's going on, and even if the plans change I like to be kept in the loop.
This being said, I like to go with the flow. I'm quite a laid back person, and I don't like to set things in stone if it means I'm going to potentially miss out on something better at a later date. Especially when it comes to relationships with people, I tend to be a little afraid of arranging things too far in the future as people and situations can change pretty quickly.
The combination of these two characteristics means that I've got all these ideas about where I want to go and what I want to do, but no real path to take me there.
I know I'm a victim of circumstance. I took a degree to postpone real life for a bit, to further improve myself, and because for me there was never any other option which appealed. Now that I've come to the end of that plan, I've got this huge window of opportunity in front of me. There are all these huge helium balloons floating just out of arms reach. 'Editor in a big name publishing house' one reads. 'Marketing and Publicity for LUSH' says another. 'Travel' a third. 'Just write' a fourth. It goes on and on. It takes a jump to grasp any of them, and I definitely can't grab two at once. I'm just worried my fingers will slip on the rope and I'll fall.
My feet are over the edge of the ledge, what happens after I jump?