Next year this time, I’ll have finished all my university applications and will be waiting, anxiously, for a response. I will be on the last leg of the race, on the homestretch. I’m almost there; I can feel it with each new obstacle, with each new issue, with each new question that I don’t know how to answer.
Choosing seven of my eight courses was pretty easy (aside from determining whether to take French again or not). The last course I’m not so sure about. Should I take another academic course on top of my already intense course load, or should I schedule in a bird course for relaxation? Accounting or cooking? Writer’s craft or studies in literature? Critical thinking or philosophy? Decisions, decisions.
My younger brother Kyle is having an even harder time deciding on courses. Deciding on courses for grade eleven is pretty crucial because it determines what kind of courses one can take in senior year, which determines what kind of programs one can apply to for university. So far, he’s decided on three courses, two of which are mandatory. He flirted with the idea of taking a fifth year in high school.
“I’m going to go ask Dad about what he thinks,” he said enthusiastically. A couple minutes later, he re-entered my room.
“So,” I asked, “what did Dad say?”
“He said, ‘I want to break free,’” he replied with a straight face. I spat out the drink of water I was taking and burst out laughing. Only our father could quote Queen when confronted with his children’s questionable academic futures.
“Was he singing?” I asked between giggles.
“Kind of,” Kyle replied. “Just when I was beginning to like school, it slaps me in the face again.” Kyle said, smacking his head against the desk. I stifled a laugh; the tone of this conversation starting to resemble the spilled coffee incident. “Why are you so prepared?”
The truth is: I’m not prepared, in any way. The only thing that I’m a thousand percent certain of is this Lemon Loaf Cake, and that’s because I’ve already made it. It’s already happened. It exists.
The only other thing that I am a hundred percent sure of is that I will be going to university. Aside from that declaration, I don’t know what I am going to major in or what I want to do “when I grow up.” At this point in my life, I’m still entertaining the idea of going to graduate school to become a lawyer or a doctor, but my mind doesn’t really extend past those four years.
I know that nothing is set in stone and that life never works out the way you want it to. I know that what I envision right now may not be what really happens. I know that everything isn’t always going to be this good or bad or familiar. And I’m okay with that. I’m okay with not knowing what will happen or where life will lead me. I’m okay with not knowing what my purpose in life is—yet. I’m okay, because I know that I’m doing absolutely everything that I can right now to “prepare” myself for the future (as if one could ever “prepare” oneself for the future).
I’m keeping all my doors open because I know that at least one of them is the right one.
Mini Lemon Loaf Cake
Adapted from: the recipe of the neighbour of a friend of a friend of mine
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups sugar
- zest of 2 lemons
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 eggs
- 3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup sour cream
- ¼ cup milk
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour four mini loaf pans. In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and soda together. In a small bowl, stir sour cream and milk together.
In another large bowl, stir butter, sugar, lemon zest, almond extract salt, lemon extract, and salt until blended. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the flour and sour cream in three alternating additions, starting and ending with the flour. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 45-55 minutes, until each loaf is golden brown and a skewer inserted near the center comes out clean.