This Ask Lara entry was composed on October 22nd, the day after Back to the Future Day.

A lot has happened in the past 48 hours. I had a harsh but necessary realization about my life and the path it has taken, Marty McFly’s visit to the future was a lot less impressive and a lot more disappointing, and I visited my old high school — which turned out to be completely different from how I remembered it because, well, it was completely different.

Here is how this all ties together in my head…

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When I was a sophomore in high school, I decided I wanted to study art. I would move to New York, get a college degree, and hang out with cool “art people,” drinking cool “art people” wine and having cool “art people” conversations. The problem was, my school never offered art classes past elementary. (Yes, I did in fact go to a school that went from Pre-K to high school.) When application time came around, I had no portfolio to get into such an art school, and I was told that making a living as an artist wasn’t realistic.

I was naive and hated conflict, so I stepped back from my dream and stayed exactly where I was. Now, in 2015, six years after graduating, my school not only appreciates people who think like artists, but it also encourages them. Suddenly, flunking out for a few years seemed like a sweet deal. At least I would get the education I always hoped for.

What if I went to an art school and made the move from the West Coast to the East Coast? Would I be traveling around the country, even the world, and writing about all the crazy experiences I came across? Would I be making a difference with my words by writing about the world? Or would I just be in the same place?

The problem with asking hypothetical questions is that they are just that: hypothetical. You can never predict the future or what could have been. Look at Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, writer and director of Back to the Future II; they definitely couldn’t. We don’t have hoverboards, and we absolutely do not dress like they depicted in the film. Instead, our faces are glued to screens, and our social life is broadcast on social media because it never actually happened if you don’t have a picture for everyone to see.

Yesterday, while aggressively scrolling through Tumblr — trying to forget all the wrong decisions I’d made based on other people’s advice and, to be fair, my own — I came across a post quoting Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) from the Back to the Future trilogy in honor of Back to the Future Day. He said, “If my calculations are correct, it is now precisely October 21, 2015. The future has finally arrived! Yes, it is different than we all thought. But don’t worry. It just means your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one.”

Talk about great timing, right?

You can’t predict your future. You can only make the decisions you think are right and hope for the best. At the end of the day, make sure that they are your decisions and no one else’s because no one else will be living your life except you.

I may never run with the bulls or live in a commune and disconnect from the world to find myself, but either way I will make it my choice.

I believe that living in general is something that everyone does blindly — whether they want to or not — and it is one of the scariest things about life; but, that should be why it’s so exhilarating. Life is like a scary maze with lots of dark corners. Being afraid of that darkness is normal, but don’t allow that darkness to dictate who you are and who you eventually want to become.


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