You can't always get what you want

A new year is usually a good thing, an exciting thing—but 2015 is a little more intimidating than the others. 2015 is the year I graduate from the college that I’ve sometimes hated but loved just as fiercely. It’s the year I venture outside the little bubble where I live with my best friends, where the Starbucks baristas remember my name, where I know shortcuts around campus like the back of my hand. It’s the year of uncertainty, of dreams that can be crushed just as easily as they can be achieved, of making bigger decisions than I’ve ever had to make before. It’s the year I’ve longed for but dreaded, and it’s the year that is finally here.

There are resolutions upon resolutions that I could make for the new year, like working out more, not skipping meals, and learning how to cook, but if there is one promise that I absolutely have to make to myself for 2015, it is to accept the future as it comes, even if it’s not the future I saw for myself.

Last week, I went to New York City to watch “Beautiful The Carole King Musical,” which was based off the true story of singer-songwriter Carole King’s rise to fame. While she was always a talented composer, Carole struggled with writing meaningful lyrics for her music. As fate would have it, she met and fell in love with aspiring playwright Gerry Goffin while in college and the two not only quickly married and had a child, but Carole’s musical talent and Gerry’s penchant with words made them a powerhouse for top radio hits. The happy couple enjoyed several years of magic and success, but Gerry soon became frustrated with writing catchy radio tunes, wanting instead to create a new style and sound, to be the pioneer of the next generation of music. Gerry’s obsession, though, led to irrational behavior, infidelity, and eventually, the deterioration of his marriage. Without Gerry, Carole felt completely broken—not only did she lose the love of her life, but she also lost the voice and the words behind her music. With time, though, Carole began writing her own songs, and performing them too. It wasn’t easy, but in the end she produced her famous album Tapestry, which won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1972—something that never would have happened if her life hadn’t been turned upside down. I was tearing up by the end of the musical because it kind of hit home for me. The upcoming year is going to be a big one, and I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be a smooth ride, but it is comforting to know that even if your world comes crashing down on you like it did for Carole King, it might just be a blessing in disguise.

For myself, as well as for many of my friends and my peers, 2015 is going to be the witness of our job offers and job rejections, our grad school offers and grad school rejections, our all at once confident and terrified steps into the real world. It is going to be a scary year, but it is a little less scary because of my new years resolution, because I’ve decided to loosen my grip on my expectations and understand that the “perfect” future I want so badly is not the only future in which I’ll be happy. The Rolling Stones said it best: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well you might find you get what you need.”