Monday, November 7, 2011
Life After School
I have been thinking a lot about monotony recently. Driving to the same place, sitting in the same chair and doing virtually the same thing every day before making the same drive home. I have been out of school and working full time for a year now and it feels...well, weird. For as long as I can remember I have said I'm not the kind of person to work a desk job, yet I have been sitting day in and day out and survived the monotony thus far.
One day during my commute, a.k.a. my least favorite part of the day, when I was trying to think of the advantages (besides fiscal reasons) of doing something you feel "meh" about all day five days a week, it occurred to me that some people may enjoy their monotonous jobs because they can be on autopilot while they make money and then do what interests them outside of work. It's not invalid, but I can't help but feel that my time outside of work is very limited and also goes by much, much faster the second I hit the "clock out" button.
Growing up, I remember family, teachers and other optimistic adults would always say "You can be anything you want to be." I believed them, within reason, as I went through stages of wanting to be a veterinarian, a lawyer, a psychologist and a fashion designer. But coming out of school and into a world where you are lucky to have a job-- period-- and so many qualified people are out of work, it doesn't seem the case. I know "You can be anything you want to be...unless there is a huge economic downturn, in which case you should be anything you can find" is not an idyllic way to raise children, but perhaps it would yield a generation less emotionally attached to their occupation. The downside to "You can be anything" is that if you don't end up doing that thing you told everyone you wanted to do then what are you doing? Settling?
Here's where it gets sticky: I am very attached to the idea of being able to use my creativity in a career. I want to do new things, learn new things and see new things. Ever since my mom died I feel the fragility of life in a much more tangible way. It really, really is too short. For some much shorter than others. I don't want to waste time by not enjoying the present moment and I don't want to regret taking the safe route. I just don't want to be a robot; don't we have robots for that?
Happy Birthday, mom and thank you for everything. Thank you for always encouraging me to express myself from letting me dress myself for school when Punky Brewest was my style icon to always having paint and canvas in the house. Thank you for telling me I can be whatever I want to be.