Fifteen Paths Diverged in a Wood, and I–I Can’t Choose


The bridge to my future or something

It’s the beginning of re-contracting season with JET, and ALTs across Japan are trying to decide if they’re going to do another year, or move on to the next adventure. The question “What are you doing after JET?” is bandied about with the same sort of disregard that “What are you doing after graduation?” was thrown in my face not so long ago.

For some this question is easy. Some JETs are applying for grad programs, law schools, and career jobs. Some JETs have already deferred their acceptance to these programs in order to do JET for this year. Some JETs will be returning to their home countries to be with their families or a significant others.

But me? I don’t have any of those plans. I can go anywhere and do anything.

It’s freeing, yes, but also terrifying.

I could return to the States for grad school. My plan when I left was to return and pursue a Masters in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). I could also apply for a program in creative writing or literature.

I could just as easily, though, apply for programs in creative writing or literature elsewhere. This week I’ve been considering pursuing a Masters in Creative Writing in Ireland. I’ve always intended to return to Ireland after my summer there in 2012 (read about it on the original Annamarie Abroad here if you want to laugh at 19 year old me), and after I do my two years in Japan, why not follow that ambition and see where it goes?

I feel drawn to academia. I feel drawn to books and coffee and heated discussions and more information than I can process at once. I go where I feel drawn, but for now I don’t know anything more specific than that.

Truthfully I am lost. I wander from path to path but I never follow one through to the end. Do I have the talent and work ethic to really study writing seriously enough to pursue a postgraduate degree? Do I enjoy teaching enough to make it a career? I wonder what would happen if I just chose. If I were to follow a path to its conclusion, would I be happy? Would I have lived a good life?

I’m afraid of choosing the wrong path. I don’t want to commit myself to pursuing something I’m terrible at–something that will just lead me to failure. Whatever comes next I’m going to have to work for. I can’t be carried by my meager allotment of talent anymore. My talent has run out, and everything from here on out I have to earn. What if I can’t?

A few months ago I moved to Japan. I finished undergrad and just left the country on my own. How crazy is that? It’s like my life has no limits and I have no idea where I’m going to stop. Maybe, well, maybe I won’t.


One thought on “Fifteen Paths Diverged in a Wood, and I–I Can’t Choose

  1. Pingback: What are your plans for the future? | Annamarie Abroad

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