On January 5th I went to a wedding, as you may have heard. While there, I participated in the typical “How’s work? Where do you work again? How long have you been there? Have they fired you for reckless endangerment or gross negligence yet?” conversation. Of the four or five people I talked about this with, most had something like a 20 year plan. You know, finish up my degree, get my Masters, maybe Doctorate, teach for a while, get married at some point during this process, and then go on to be a successful self-actualized individual. Most of them knew what they wanted to do, and had a fairly specific flowchart for their lives. My snappy “Well they haven’t fired me yet, and I’m just trying to pay off my student loan debt” response didn’t garner much appreciation.
Lots of these people (especially the ones with 20 year plans) had already secured their dream job. Which is great for them. One girl works with the Teen ministry at the church in Baltimore, and she loves it. One guy is an FBI agent after working as an analyst there for a few years, and he loves it. Of course a few other people (me) have jobs that are just jobs, enough to stay out of debtors prison and keep the lights on. It was great to see people on both sides. Those that are thankful to just have a job so they can pay their bills, they’ll get to the future when they can. And those that have ‘arrived’ in some sense, that worked to get their dream job and are thrilled about it. I find that if I surround myself with too many people on either side I’ll usually get more depressed about it. Either I’m just like everyone else, working for a living, paycheck to paycheck. Or everyone else has achieved something with their lives at this point except me. Balance is key for my perspective and motivation.
There was thankfully, one girl that didn’t really know what she wanted to do. She had just taken a semester off and was considering changing her major. I changed my major (from Business to Criminology) so we got to conversing.
She: What do you want to do someday?
Me: I have no idea, maybe travel journalism or be a writer (if I knew how to write).
She: Are you the sort of person who does it anyway?
This was one of the best questions I’ve been asked, especially since I had already thought up a response. I was reminded of when I started writing more regularly and my rationale for doing so. I figure I’ll keep writing until I’m better at it, until it comes more easily, and my posts aren’t just embarrassingly awful. Hopefully someday I’ll develop into a more capable wordsmith or at least convey my thoughts more clearly and powerfully. If not, at least I gave it a shot. I can’t really remember her response to my awe-inspiring answer, but I’m fairly certain it changed her life and the lives of anyone within earshot.