Future plans

Nom nom nom

For as long as I can remember I’ve been both afraid of, and excited for, my future. It depends on my day which of the two overrules, but at most times I simply avoid to look forward too much and focus on the present instead, since it somehow feels ‘safer’.

Of course I do have plans and dreams, and things for which I work hard to achieve, but I never let my mind wander into the future for long. It is not the unknown which scares me, but the known. I know for a fact that today is the best it’s going to get; my body won’t function better any day than this day. Those facts scare me, instead of the uncertain and unknown variables ahead of me. “I won’t let fear handicap me any further than my disease already does” is a decision I made quite a while ago, and although I find it hard to keep that in mind at all times I try my best and may say I succeed rather often.

It took me a lot of sweat and tears (and 8 years instead of the usual 6) to come this far, but if I keep on this track of the road I will be done with my bilingual VWO (pre-university education) coming May. I can’t wait to be done with it and I’m ready to jump into the depths of a new part of my life: university. Provehito in altum.

Space, stars, and black holes have fascinated me ever since I first watched Discovery Channel, and it is that fascination which I plan to feed. I’ll enrol in Astrophysics at the University of Leiden next fall, and I simply can’t wait for it. I’m tired of my physics teacher chuckling and telling me to “back off” saying “I can’t answer that question. You don’t have to know that for the coming test and besides, we just don’t know yet” whenever I fire my why’s and how’s at him. I want at least to try and grasp this marvellous and mysterious universe we live in, and discover the ridiculous and amazing secrets it has. “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” – Carl Sagan

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The original pale blue dot – Earth from 3.7 billion miles away (NASA/JPL/Voyager)

Apart from my everlasting curiosity there’s another reason for my choice of ambition and it can best be explained by referring to yet another Carl Sagan quote: “It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

I’m often overwhelmed when looking up at the stars in the clear night sky. It makes you realize how nimble, coincidential and utterly useless we humans are in the larger scheme of things. That experience is truly tranquil and anxious feelings that often plague me are then laughable in the cosmic reality that surrounds us. But hey, maybe one day I’ll laugh at the cosmic reality.