how to plan for the future

  1. lie awake at night. you have to go to school tomorrow, and then you have to make lunch, and then you have to work, and you should really do the dishes. and after that, you have blog posts and chores and emails to answer and it’s never good enough, no matter how hard you work. is it?
  2. exchange a few more sentences than usual with your friend, about that apartment you might get, or the cities you could live in before you both start to panic. change the topic to characters in a story, or the clothing hanger someone left on the bus this morning. because god, it’s so fragile in my palms, able to shatter at the slightest touch.
  3. try to sketch it out on paper, even though it always comes out wrong. shoot down your dreams like birds in the sky, and watch them bleed out on freshly-mown grass. because that’s how this goes, right?
  4. type out google searches and never press enter. think about the years ahead of you, and start to panic because it’s so much, and so little, all at once. and i know what it’s gonna feel like deep down in my bones, when the music stops. and i’ve got nowhere to go.
  5. think about death: old folk’s homes, cough syrup, an IV in my wrist, the uncomfortable prick carefully numbed out. it’ll make me nauseous, i know it will. and what if there are people there beside me? what if i am the monster, the tree in the forest? what if—
  6. so now i try to stop. try to think about what i want and take deep breaths, knowing i’m already planning out a work schedule, and a budget. and isn’t it funny, how you can spend your whole life bracing for adulthood, but still get nauseated by the idea of paying bills?
  7. what if the cycle breaks me first? what if there’s nowhere to go?
  8. open a spreadsheet, and close out of your browser. shut down your computer, and run back and forth in the backyard until you can’t think clearly.
  9. what if i fuck everything up completely? what if i never have the courage to try? what if i look at myself in the mirror on a sunday morning, and can’t meet her eyes?
  10. but for whatever it’s worth, i would traverse a surburban hellscape at your side. settle down, and walk down the boardwalk, watching the sun rise. if that was what you wanted. and when our neighbours and their plastic children grow sharp, bleeding teeth, i’ve seen enough tv shows that i’ll probably know what to do, if i don’t freeze up under pressure, because that happens sometimes. and yeah, it sucks, but what are you gonna do?