For a large part of my life, I have been scared to take that grand leap into the unknown for fear that:
A. I will never get that time back,
B. Everyone will judge me, and
C. I will fail.
Since I was young, I have always had the most irrational phobias. I'm afraid of elevator and subway doors closing on me (and not opening), I'm scared to think of, let alone speak "Bloody Mary" while in a bathroom, and I feel that if I don't lean forward enough on an escalator, I'll tumble down it in front of everyone. Cue my brother's laughter right now. However, while you all might think that I'm crazy and paranoid right now, I do have other fears that to the average person might be understandable.
As a second semester senior, I worry about how I'm going to find a job after graduation. Not just any job, but one that I'll truly feel passionate about, and for most, that seems difficult to find in an entry-level position. Not only that, but I fear that just when I enter the field I love, I will be laid off. This comes from the moments when I have expressed my interest in working for the magazine industry, only to see the look of pity on a person's face as they respond with "Oh, you know that's a dying industry right?" Thank you for that. I'm terrified that while I've become more much more outgoing and sociable since I was a teen, I'm still never going to fully break out of my shell, which, in my case, is not a good thing when you want to be a journalist.
So you're probably sitting at your computer or staring at your phone screen wondering why I've decided to rant about my life and admit to my friends, family and especially strangers that I'm petrified of almost everything. Well, the fact is, despite everything I've mentioned thus far, I know that the first step to overcoming fear is admitting that you're afraid. It wasn't long ago when my mother and I first began speaking about what I wanted to do after college, and she asked me whether I just wanted to be a writer or if I aspired to be an editor. At the time, I told her that I simply wanted to be a staff writer since writing stories and reporting news was the only thing I was truly passionate about. I claimed that I didn't want to deal with the hassle of assigning stories, looking over other writers' work and the like, as most editors do. Honestly though, that was all a bunch of B.S. now that I look back at it. Oddly enough, it wasn't until I attended an event last weekend with Nobel Prize winners, champion rowers, chief inspirers (yes, that's a career), top notch editors and, generally, the best of the best in various industries, that I realized I wasn't being sincere to my mother or myself.
So what's my deal? If you've already read up to this point in my blog post without zoning out while binge-watching Netflix shows, you probably already know the answer to my question.
Here I am, being completely honest with myself. As a journalism student, me saying I don't want to become an editor-in-chief is like a professional traveler saying, "Nah, I just want to see these select few countries" when given the opportunity to see the world. It's like a chef saying he or she only wants to learn how to specialize in French cuisine, but refuses to experiment with others, or a skydiver who says, "Hey, I'll get on the plane, but I probably won't jump." That's me. I've always been afraid to jump. I'm afraid to fall because I worry I might not get back up. Yet after much self-reflection and possibly the big slap in the face I've received from the world yelling at me to wake up because it's time to find a job, I refuse to push myself down anymore.
I don't want to be the next Anna Wintour or Arianna Huffington, and that isn't because I don't wholeheartedly believe these editors are well accomplished and notable. You can strive to be like someone, but you will never actually be that person. There is only one Wintour and only one Huffington. They will always inspire me, but instead, I want to be the absolute best version of myself. As should everyone else. Don't try to be the next Steve Jobs, Larry Page or Mark Zuckerberg. Don't let others tell you that you should strive to be the next Sheryl Sandberg, Oprah Winfrey or Jill Abramson. Be you, and don't let anyone put you down for it. Take risks and don't be afraid like I was for most of my life. If you are, life will just pass you by.