Over fall break I reread The Rules do not Apply by Ariel Levy. It’s an honest and unflinching memoir that recounts the author’s journey through love, loss, lessons learned and eventually starting over.It was especially poignant as thoughts about my college career coming to an end in December began to surface with fall break no longer providing a buffer between me and my impending entrance into the adult world.
Levy writes about a particular conversation she had when interviewing someone for a story.
“Everybody doesn’t get everything,” she was told, and it stuck with her. “It sounded depressing to me at the time, a statement of defeat,” she writes. “Now admitting it seems like the obvious and essential work of growing up. Everybody doesn’t get everything: as natural and unavoidable as mortality.”
I’ll admit that this still sounds depressing to me. I know it has to be true, but I’m also still naïve enough to think that maybe, just maybe, I could have everything. I’ll be the one to have it all, I say, not even graduated yet.
Levy’s life experience says otherwise, though, and she has good reason to believe it’s a true sentiment.
I’m also not naïve enough to think I won’t experience loss or pain at some point in the future, or act like it hasn’t happened in the past.
But, what if I honestly believed that where I end up is exactly where I’m supposed to be?
What if I cherish everything that happened to me up to this point because it’s gotten me this far? What if my life, as a collection of experiences, people and places, unpaid internships or lucky breaks, communities and relationships, is everything?
Would I have it all?
I think it’s important to have goals, a list of things I’d like to accomplish or do or see, but there’s no way to plan for everything. I’m in control of my own life, yes, but I also want to stay open to new possibilities that come my way that I couldn’t possibly have planned for.
Maybe it’s my age, but I’m not even certain about what I want for dinner, let alone 5, 10, 20 years from now– at least in any specific sense.
How would I even know when I have it all?
I hope I, like Levy, don’t shy away from things I haven’t prepared for. I hope I face them with courage and faith, and maybe end up with everything.