If I Knew Where I Was Going

If I knew where I was going, I’d stop reading maps like they hold some special secret. I’d realize that they guide people toward a destination and not just away from themselves and I’d stop blaming physical boundaries and distance for all of my problems. I’d accept that the reason I always feel stuck is because I’m too afraid to cross the rivers and mountains that I’ve built up between myself and the people around me, between my actions and my ambitions, my muscles and my mind.

I’d stop standing in the rain until my clothes are heavy with water and my hair so tangled that I can’t see through it. I’d stop sending myself to that place where I want to see nothing, where I want to be alone with the sound of water pounding on my palms until it breaks through the skin, until it cracks them open and something new comes out.

I’d stop running the same path through the neighborhood, seeing the same trees that I see every day. They’ve been there forever, stuck still as they’ve watched families move in and out of the homes that they watch over.  They’ll never see anything else but they’re content to sway in the wind that carries the scent of the sun to them every morning. I’d stop feeling sorry for them because this place is beautiful and it would be hard not to be happy here. I’d stop feeling selfish for always dreaming of somewhere else.

I’d stop taking economics classes just in case. I’d be able to convince myself that one day I’ll have a real job, not one in an office but one in the world. That every day I’ll arm myself with a conscience, a pen, and a camera and a smile will come naturally. I’ll come home and read a book and fall asleep dreaming of real life and not of fantasy.

I’d probably start carrying a purse because I’d give my ideas value, and I’d want to save them somewhere instead of putting them in my back pocket and letting them fall out. I’d buy a leather-bound journal and a book of poetry. I’d always have them with me and when I got bored, I’d create something from them instead of refreshing my iPhone for news about countries I’ll never visit.

I’d start saving all of my books. I would organize them by how many times I’ve read them, and then I’d put them on a shelf in a room with yellow walls where I knew I’d be staying for more than a few months. I’d collect all the works of my most beloved authors because I’d have a place to keep them instead of flying one or two favorites home in my carry-on. Or maybe I wouldn’t read as much. I’d have a sense of permanence outside of written worlds and I wouldn’t crave an escape from my own anymore. I wouldn’t want to dissolve into their pages; I’d want to darken the ink on my own.

I’d be more certain of what’s important to me and more aware of what isn’t. My mind would stop wandering, fabricating characters that I want to become even though I’ve never met them, places that I want to call home even though they may not exist. Maybe I would fall asleep before four a.m. and wake up in time to see the morning. The self-doubt that’s collected itself into heavy circles under my eyes would lose some of its weight. I’d know what it’s like not to be tired from spending all night staring at the ceiling, searching for something in a place too infinite to cover until I know what I’m looking for. TC Mark

image – Shutterstock

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  • http://gravatar.com/qqjones qqjones

    Ha, ha! I do everything spoken of here but love it!

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  • Z

    thank you, this was exactly what I needed <3

  • http://gravatar.com/chabelicoscolluela clc

    this makes me not want to find out where I’m going

  • http://www.facebook.com/monisha.ray Monisha Ray

    I needed to read this, thank you for writing it!

  • http://tearingattheseams.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/if-i-knew-where-i-was-going/ “If I Knew Where I Was Going” « tearing at the seams

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  • http://Thepostsocial.com Lauren

    Jesus. I feel like you wrote that for me. That is my life spot on. Such a lonely feeling doesn’t feels as lonely now…

  • MAJA

    My heart was pounding as I was reading your most intimate confession. This is probably the most difficult state of being to explain to anybody, but you’ve managed that to perfection. I read it in one breath, and then re-read it, again, and again….Now, whenever I’m lost for words when someone asks me how I’m feeling and why I am not happy with the “perfect” life I have – this is what I’ll show them to read. Thank you! And I hope we both stop feeling these things before we go crazy :*

  • http://biancagumamela.wordpress.com biancagumamela

    Reblogged this on Roses and Thorns and Lightning and Sacks. and commented:
    “… I wouldn’t want to dissolve into their pages; I’d want to darken the ink on my own.”

  • lostattheshore

    beautiful and heartbreakingly true.

  • Rachel

    beautiful piece.

  • snapshotdaze

    Reblogged this on snapshotdaze and commented:
    “I’d stop taking economics classes just in case. I’d be able to convince myself that one day I’ll have a real job, not one in an office but one in the world. That every day I’ll arm myself with a conscience, a pen, and a camera and a smile will come naturally. I’ll come home and read a book and fall asleep dreaming of real life and not of fantasy.”

  • Danielle

    Are you sure you didn’t read my mind?

  • exploredreamdiscover

    college life, summed up. Actually this probably sums up real life post-college as well. I wouldn’t know. But really, fantastic.

  • READMYMIND

    Every college grad should read this.

  • Guest 1

    i don’t think you need to look much further of where to go. your writing is beyond amazing. i would kill to have your style of writing. i am way beyond a college student and this piece read my thoughts. best piece i have ever ever read on TC

  • Jarin

    Beautiful words and echoes my sentiment only with much better articulation. While there’s this dreaming of real world, I am also too well aware of the fact the my ‘real’ life, which is a far-cry from the real ‘real’ world I am dreaming of, is passing by in the process. And, I am waiting for the moment, when I will switch on and start ‘living’.

  • alice

    Great writing (especially the first paragraph), thank you. Running away has only exacerbated the problems I was running from.

  • Shatha_A

    “places that I want to call home” thanks

  • Meesha

    Can’t believe how much i connected with this. beautiful

  • http://jenniferlioy.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/thought-catalog-at-its-best-imho/ Thought Catalog at Its Best (IMHO) « travel light. live light. spread the light.

    […] If I Knew Where I Was Going “If I knew where I was going, I’d stop reading maps like they hold some special secret. […]

  • Thought Catalog

    Reblogged this on Welkom in Amsterdam and commented:
    Food for thought…

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