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Petra Caraciuc - The fear of tomorrow

Author: Petra Caraciuc

I didn't grow up in a family of artists, writers or composers, but my personality has always been drawn to the creative side of things, the hidden side of the world, the side that not many can see and understand. I have relied on the classic strategy of 'trying' and have tasted a bit of everything. My parents were supportive and my safety net, though they had nothing to do with any special talent they would pass on to me as a legacy.

The net, however, has come undone. I started all sorts of roads, but didn't finish them. Some because after growing up I didn't find myself, others because life decided so. I have a terrible fear of tomorrow, but to face it at least a little I did this exercise and drew the roads I have walked so far. For clarity.

 Road 1. Popular music

I was 6 years old. I can't quite remember what I was doing with my days. But I do remember the day my mother signed me up for folk music lessons. I was too young then to know what I wanted to do with my life. I didn't fight it and did as my mother wanted. Time passed and I entered a local competition for the first time.

Because of the uncontrollable emotions and noise around me, my body froze. The only thing echoing in my head at that moment were the lyrics of the song I was about to sing on stage. I was dressed in a carefully stitched, floral-patterned purple and green skirt, a traditional catgut that was far too large for my stature, and a thin, bright red belt that complimented my entire outfit.  My hair was pinned up in two spiky braided pigtails. The background noise was so loud that all I could feel at that moment was the prickling wool of the stockings I wore under my stockings. My emotions were high, but despite my stage fright, my mother's encouraging smile gave me a boost of courage. With a smile on my lips, with small, repetitive steps from left to right, I got into character. We sang at end-of-year parties and town events, and at family gatherings, my sister and I always had a song ready.

I played folk music until I was 13. From there, my life moved on to new horizons. Like every other student in Romania, I was about to take the National Assessment and I felt that my mind could not pay attention to anything else. I was learning, learning, learning. The "singing" path gradually disappeared, but not because I didn't like doing it anymore, but simply because I grew up and other passions blossomed in my soul. But in my heart, my heart keeps the image of the little girl who used to sing at the microphone, "I'm a little sucevean baby/ On my land in Bucovina".

Road 2. Sport and nature

My passion for sport comes from my grandfather, Ioan.

He dedicated a large part of his youth to his passion for tennis. His dedication and constant work earned him the reputation of National Champion for many years in a row. I think this gene has been passed down through the family, because for as long as I can remember, my father has always stressed the importance of a healthy life. He wanted a son, but because that didn't happen, I took on the role of "daddy's boy". It was from him that I took my passion for cycling.

 In the beginning, my father used to pull me to take me out for bike rides. From unwarranted reluctance and stubbornness, I became passionate.

Nothing compares to the moment when I was giving up the ghost to walk up a hill and wonder who put me there. In July 2022, in a moment of carelessness and excessive adrenaline, I fell off my bike, and my passion for cycling came to an unexpected end. Nearly a year after the fall, my back was causing me terrible pain. Doctors confirmed that cycling could no longer be an option for me. I could hardly keep myself from letting out a long string of tears. That day I felt a profound loss. Deep inside my soul only fear lingered. Fear that I had missed an opportunity that could have defined the path of my life. Having everything and having nothing had turned into a dramatic spectacle of my existence. There was nothing I could do. I could only watch as a bystander.

Route 3. Getting into college

I always imagined what it would be like when I got into college, but I never thought this time in my life would come so soon. After a summer of regaining my energy and desire to live my life, I started college with huge emotions about this new beginning.

Once the step was taken, the pressures around me increased. One would assume that at this point in life you should know exactly the direction you're headed. But how am I supposed to have answers to a journey that's just begun? The question is not a recent sound, but a familiar tune from my teenage years. In a family rooted in the medical field, this story doesn't just unfold in the pages of my parents, but extends like a family tree of expectations.

I believe this uncertainty, in fact, gives color and beauty to life. I don't always have to know what I want to do with my life. It's hard, really, not to look back and wonder what my life would have looked like if I hadn't abandoned my passion for music or if my body still allowed me to play my favorite sport. Opportunities come and go in ways we can't control.

Road 4. Fear of tomorrow

While I was young and preoccupied with other things in my life, questions about my own existence didn't get much attention. But with each passing year, I have come to realize how complicated and yet how simple life can be at the same time. Every day questions such as "What am I doing with my life?", "What would my life look like if I had acted differently?", "What would my life look like if I didn't have the people I have around me now?" come to my mind. The list could go on and on. The riddles in my mind make me wonder if I am in the right place, and the fear of tomorrow is still a feeling that gives me no peace. I sit and spend my days wondering what my present might look like if my medical school training had continued? What would my life have looked like if I had chosen to take my life into my own hands and enter the workforce once I finished high school? So many questions about "How? and "What if? We feel the pressure of certainty everywhere, when we think that it is precisely by trying from the unknown that we can see ourselves better.

I'm afraid of tomorrow, but I think it's natural. I'd like to have that confidence in tomorrow and the certainty that somewhere there is a place for me. But you see, I don't have it, and yet here I am.

A sign that maybe it's important to give it time.

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