“Ten years from now, what do you hope your life will be like?”
I asked myself a similar question this last summer when I was Israel. We were in the Beit Knesset (that is to say, in the vulgar, the chapel) and I was looking up at the stained glass window, thinking of where life might take me.
It started with a seed–who I was and where I was.
Then it started to grow: A stem (where I’ve been) and branches (where I’d be going). As it grew onwards and upwards, the branches kept breaking and breaking apart more and more, each traveling about the same distance before it bifurcated itself into two more possible futures, almost as if the fractal tree that branches perpetually.
I still see that tree, but now it has many more branches.
The Mathematician: Herein my education is straightforward. I graduate GTCC, get my Bachelor’s in Mathematics with teaching licensure, and then I get a job either at a high school or a middle school and teach children how to understand math. It’s a passion of mine, both mathematics and teaching, and in this branch I’m happy and enjoying life, perhaps not making six figures as someone once complimented me by saying he could foresee me doing such, but it’s still a good life. At some point I might return to school and get my Master’s or Doctorate and teach at the collegiate level (GTCC’s head of the math department has implied she’d love to see me take her place someday), but no matter which way the branch continues to grow, I’m always doing what I love.
The Rabbi: This branch puts me in one of two places, either here in America or back in Israel. In either scenario, I complete my Bachelor’s as before and then migrate back up north, where I attend the Jewish Theological Seminary in NYC where I’m later ordained as a rabbi of the Conservative movement. Then again this branch diverges once more, wherein some leaves take me back to teaching and others to a congregation and still more to the Committee of Jewish Law and Standards. It’s an odd bunch of branches, I’ll admit, but they’re a nice place to bathe in the sunshine of spirited possibilities.
The Politician: This branch is still a new bud, spawn of my time in Raleigh at the SLI and also the political rally I aforementioned attended. In either case, much like the others, I continue till I’ve achieved my Bachelor’s, and then while I teach for a bit (or perhaps after I’ve taught for a bit), I return to school to get my Associate’s in Political Science (since you don’t need any political training to be a politician, I could just jump off the bridge here, but I’m of the philosophy that if you’re going to do something, do it right, so I’d take the time to make myself properly acquainted with politics before making myself a so-called politician). From here, I’d run for office. Perhaps on a school board at first, perhaps straight to state congress, later on to Congress itself, then perhaps as far as the Presidency. That part’s debatable. In any case, I’d bring common sense and sensibility back to America, looking at the facts first, not the favors we’d be offered, and do what’s best for the nation, not what’s best for me. I’d lobby for intelligent functioning and equality for all. It’d be a good day in my country.
And the Writer: This one’s like a willow branch, long and slender and wispy like the wind. It flutters in and out, through the other branches, wherever life may take me, as I continue to write here–upon my blog–and elsewhere, stories and novels and many more things. Sometimes I get published upon this branch and make millions, sometimes only thousands, sometimes only a dedicated fanbase. But no matter where this thread of life goes, it’s always a part of where I am, always a part of who I am.
The sad part is that each of these branches lacks a little thing like a flower: They’re covered in leaves, but all trees have leaves, and mine is lacking some color. In all of these scenarios, I’m career-oriented and goal-driven (the picture of America right there), but I’m loveless and, if yet still happy, lonely. They forget to factor in the indiscernible future, the love interests and relationships, the man I’ll marry, the family we’ll have. And whereas I can’t see any of that, this tree is but a seed still and little more than that.