At twenty-five years old, I’m surrounded by friends who are finishing graduate school, settling into careers, starting families and buying homes. What am I doing? Watching reruns of House and SVU in my parents living room. Sounds fun doesn’t it- not a care in the world, plenty of free time- it’s great, for about the first week, maybe a month if you’re easily entertained like I am. But it gets old fast.
Combine having only a bachelor’s degree in English with the current overabundance of job-seekers, my general dislike for dealing with people in most capacities and a tendency to lose interest in activities once the “figuring out how to do it” part is over and you get someone who is virtually unemployable.
I do have some special talents, including but not limited to: hula hooping, pulling my feet to my head, crocheting, playing with words, untying knots (especially in jewelry and shoelaces), following Ikea instructions and picking things up with my toes. If someone’s offering a job that combines those and some of my other special skills, I’ll take it.
The way I see it, if I want to be successful, I’m probably going to have to create my own career. So I’m starting today.
When I was four years old and in pre-school we did a project about our future, on the page that said, “When I grow up I’m going to be a _____,” I wrote “ballerina“. Of course by the time the project was done being displayed in our classroom and sent home to our parents, I’d grown bored of ballet class. I crossed off this career aspiration and replaced it with “jimnast” written in my most perfect 3-year-old handwriting. It was my new dream. I was pretty good at cartwheels and splits so I was pretty much a shoe-in for the Olympics. Then I got bored again, and my dream changed again.
And so it went, like with most young people, every new experience opened a new career aspiration on which I set my heart. I wanted to be a marine biologist (who hasn’t), forensic psychologist, crime scene investigator, doctor, teacher, singer (I can’t sing), hip-hop dancer, circus performer, lawyer, college professor, stay-at-home mom, bartender, political activist; I could go on and on. For a while I even had a budding career as a behavior analyst.
While some of these aspirations stuck (I still want to perform in the circus and hope to someday teach a college class or two), most of them were idle aspirations based on temporary passions. There is only one thing of interest that has remained constant: WORDS. I love them. I like to string them together, make them up, toy with their meanings and uses and learn new ones whenever I can.
So here I am, twenty-five, and like I did with ballerina and “jimnast”, I’m crossing off all the possibilities that have come before and I’m reaching for my dream, the only one that’s never faded away. Luckily at some point I learned how to spell because:
When I grow up I’m going to be a wordsmith.
Decision made. Now watch me make it happen.