As a young adult, my mind is often forced to dwell on the future. I'm constantly looking ahead, constantly forced to summon up some sort of plans for the people who keep asking me, time and time again, "what do you think you're going to do after graduation?" And as much as I sacrifice hours of thoughts and stress and research to that question, I still don't really have an answer.

Where do I want to be in ten years? What needs to happen, between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-one, to make those years a success?

Honestly, I don't know.

Career-wise, I know that I want to be a writer. I know that my novels are the most important things in my life, and I will dedicate anything and everything to them. I know that I want to work on getting my name out there, work on getting published. But I don't know how much money I'm going to make at that, especially at first, so I know that I need to assume crash positions. I need to have a back-up plan, I need to be looking into other things, but I don't know what those things should be. My writing is my number one priority in life - it's my passion and my dream. Trying to find something else to dedicate myself to, something that will leave me satisfied but not impoverished, is not an easy task.

Education-wise, I wouldn't mind going for my Masters someday. Someday. But the thing is, I want to experience other things in life too. I've dedicated the last fifteen and a half years of my life to school, and it's been lovely and I'm glad that I have, but what else is there? I'm like the heroine of some children's animated movie, staring out into the big, wide world and wondering what's out there? Can I see it? Can I master it? It must be more than the things I've known - it must be brilliant and magical and wonderful. So as much as I want to get my Masters eventually - god, do I want to do other things too.

Personal-life wise... well, let's face it, I'm already fucked in that regard. But just because I haven't dated anyone for a while, it doesn't mean that ten years can't bring about massive changes, so where do I want to be then? Do I want to be married? Do I want children? Do I want to have settled down by then? Well... I don't know. I don't really have an answer here. Some people my age are already married and pregnant, but as far as I'm concerned, I'm still uncertain about my opinions on marriage. Sometimes, I think that it's nothing more than an old-fashioned, sexist ritual centred around giving away women as property. Sometimes I don't care and think that it doesn't necessarily have to be that way in our modern society. Sometimes I throw sexism completely out the window, and disapprove of marriage simply because I don't know if I believe that two people can spend eternity together and still be happy. Sometimes I think that that's very pessimistic of me, and want to achieve monogamy nonetheless. And if you think my thoughts on marriage are complex, wait until you hear my thoughts on children! Ultimately, my opinion on both have sort of relied on a 'wait-and-see' standard, as I figured that I'd make them all up as I go along. So, really, I can't plan anything in those regards. I can only sit back and see what ten years brings me.

And so that's where I'm stuck. Even as all these people keep asking me what I'm going to do with my future, even as I strive to plan and research, I still have no answers. I have only vague inclinations, and the intense hope that my vague inclinations will lead me toward the things that I am meant for.

Published by Ciara Hall