everybody's got to grow up sometime. apparently.
When last we met, I was all cried out (I'll pause a moment to give you time to engage in the requisite singing of that song, safe in the knowledge that I, too, got my Lisa Lisa on)(here's some help if you need it), had tucked my collection of old love letters back into a large storage container in my basement, and was faced with a few decisions. Did I want to:
- put on my Velma glasses and, through a series of treacherous internet searches, find out what my former paramour is up to these days
- give up the ghost and watch season 2 of Dexter
- say "Hmmmm?" and/or "Wha?" in regard to another old letter I found while going through the treasure chest of my past
If you answered "All of the above," you're right! With a few keystrokes, I learned my former love has never tried to scare pesky (his word, not mine!) folk away from old ghost towns, but he has amassed an assortment of mundane traffic tickets over the years. Also, season 2 of Dexter, although bogged down a bit by the annoying British girl, was quite good, if not a smidgen predictable.
And what of the mysterious letter, you ask. What about the letter?! It was from a large state university that didn't award me my original journalism degree, and based on the jaunty way in which the registrar employee prefaced the letter, I wrote them first to inquire about graduate degree programs. In family and consumer science.
Apparently, I thought I wanted to be a dietitian.
(sidebar - at various times, I've also thought I wanted to be a zombie hunter, but they apparently hire them in-house because I never see help wanted ads for that position, or a king crab fisherman on the vast Bering Sea, but as I write this, I'm sitting in front of an open window and a brisk 65-degree breeze is wafting in, making me want to wrap up in the loving arms of my slanket, so those long hours toiling in arctic temperatures perhaps aren't ideal for my soft, cubicle-conditioned exterior)
I don't remember inquiring about graduate school, but based on the postmark on the outside of the envelope, I can understand why I thought it might be a good idea to spin my world a little more off it's axis at the time. I was sinking in the aftermath of the previously mentioned break up, and my father was in a hospital attempting to recover from a stroke we'd soon learn he'd never fully be able to. Why not toss another dash of chaos and potential remorse into the pot and see how it tasted, hmm? Since I thought I wanted to be a dietitian, I must have thought it would taste fantastic.
That moment - at 25 - was perhaps the first time I gave serious thought to what I wanted to be when I grew up. I spent the majority of my college years clueless to life afterward. There were two years in the education program thinking I'd be a teacher. God bless those who do teach, because the fact it took me two years to learn I didn't want to be a teacher was a strong indicator of how effective I'd have been getting a lesson across in a classroom. By junior year, I thought graphic arts sounded fun, but in the olden days, you had to know how to actually draw, so my first attempt was a sloppy straight line - with a ruler - through that option on my list.
Don't we all grow up with ideas of what we want to be when we grow up? Whether it's something attainable or a grand dream, don't we all imagine such things? Or is that something I've picked up from television programs? Because I honestly can't remember ever having a thought, big or small, about what I wanted to be when I reached adulthood.
(zombie hunter not withstanding, of course)
When I received this particular letter, I'd been working as a newspaper reporter for two years. A degree in journalism seemed like the last feasible option on my list when I decided to pursue it, and when I was offered the reporting job after graduation, I told anyone who'd listen I'd only be there a year because I absolutely didn't ever want to work at a newspaper, thank you very much. Hear me now, I'd say, I (who) don't want to be a news reporter (what) when I grow up (when)!
A year later, I was named editor of said newspaper.
I held that position for five years. Add that to the two years I spent as a reporter, subtract the part where I kept saying I didn't want to be a news reporter, and, well, you can see I was a news reporter for seven years. If you needed help figuring that out, remember to be sure to thank a math teacher, not me! Apparently, I'd decided reporting WAS what I was going to do when I grew up, but it wasn't want I WANTED to do.
While working as a reporter, I once spent a day in a preschool classroom for a feature story. As I scribbled notes and snapped photos, I overheard a boy tell a friend he intended to be a turtle when he grew up. Not a fireman nor policeman nor doctor. He only wanted to be a turtle. As he mapped out his plans, I felt envious of this five year old and his resolute goal, impossible as it was. By now, that boy has likely gone on to decidedly non-reptilian ventures (of which I hope he wasn't too disappointed), and I have tried out a few others, too, but I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. Finding this letter reminded me of that. From time to time, I've chalked this disconnected feeling up to the fact that, in all honesty, I don't feel like I'm a grown up. I mean, come on, I have an imaginary 14 year old boy living inside me, for god sake (hey Seth)! However, I'm 41, and I do grown up things and have grown up responsibilities, and I quite imagine it's about time I have a grown up plan. At the very least, it would be nice to have a plan that doesn't end in me floundering around clueless and/or afraid.
I love my primary job of being a stay-at-home mom, and I'm going to pretend I didn't call it a job even though many days it absolutely feels like work. I also, for the most part, love my part time bookseller job. However, my boys are fast approaching a time when they don't always need me around and I can't always work for minimum wage. It feels like I have to consider how to fill in the blanks created by not being part of the full time work force and how I can use that information to decide what I want to do for the rest of my life. Tonight we had take out food and ice cream for supper, so that dietitian's job may not be the first option that comes up. Tomorrow I'll return to my day shift at the bookstore while the boys are in school.
And if you know any turtles, would you maybe consider putting in a good word for me?