Seeking Dreams or Wasting Life…
or… Growin’ Up Ain’t All That Bad
or… Ramble On, My Wayward Son
Yesterday (Saturday) I had to go into work… twice. Once before the world had woken and then again when the rest of the world was sleeping.
‘Twould be frightfully insincere for me to say that was how I had desired to spend my Saturday.
But, being both introspective and a tad narcissistic (is there really a difference between the two?), I began to ponder some things. Had I been able to pursue my vocational dreams way back when, how would life be different?
If you had asked me 15 years ago, when I graduated from High School, where I saw myself 15 years hence, one thing is certain. (Well two things, for one, I would have called you a liar if you’d said I would ever construct sentences so clumsy as the one which preceded this one, and…) I would not have pictured myself working where I now work or doing what I now do.
I’m not sure I knew exactly what my plans were, but I knew they did not involve the 9-5 grind (or in my present case, the 6:30 – 6:00 grind).
I probably fancied myself as a future teacher or professor, most likely of Theatre.
And as I entered college, I had the chance to go down that track. But somewhere along the line, it became clear that I found more enjoyment in doing, rather than being taught how to teach how to do, when it came to Theatre.
Couple my time spent pursuing the stage with the wasted chance for academic greatness (Honor’s Program? Shmnonor’s Program. Instead of actually working and utilizing this opportunity I’ve been given, I think I’ll just quit the Program and mope on my dorm couch) , and my dreams became something I just kind of wanted without having to work for them.
For some reason, it came as a shock to me that the teaching offers weren’t rolling in after I graduated. And, horror of horrors, how dare I get turned down for my first teaching job!
So, I moped through life for a year. Jennifer deserves sainthood status for putting up with me these many years. I don’t know how she did it…especially early on. I did get the wonderful opportunity to work with an amazing group of people in Orlando’s Recreation department. We put on puppet shows and I got to do theatre workshops for groups of children at community centers across the city.
But that wasn’t good enough for me, apparently. I wasn’t making enough, and instead of getting a second job to supplement while I actually worked towards moving up with the City and trying to, oh, I don’t know, actually pursue a career, I simply did what I needed to do and blew the opportunities I had by moping through life.
To make ends meet, Jennifer worked two jobs while I played with dolls…ahem, puppets.
Like I said, Saint Jen.
Subsequently, in order to once again demonstrate His sense of humor, God actually allowed me to teach theatre at a Performing Arts Magnet High School. I did that for two years and made a profound discovery: I’m not good at it.
Well, I would have made that discovery if I had not been so dense. For reasons that were not completely under my control, they brought in someone to take over for me after those two years.
I found myself jobless…but certainly not dreamless!!
After a few months, I did find a temporary job. And six months later moved on to the company I am with now. I have now been with them for 7 years (and a week, if you were interested in knowing). I had two other positions prior to the one I am in now.
So you’d think I would have found myself fairly settled in there after 2 or three years. Not so, says I, with a silly twinkle in my dreaming eye.
Up until about two years ago, I had been doing everything I could think of to leave and pursue something more… well, fun. Mainly dealing with teaching and/or Theatre.
My old job at the Magnet School came back open not less than three times, and I was always first in line to apply. I am not sure why the hint was not taken by me. But, what can you do? My rejections during the three times I re-applied seemed to come down to needing further “education”. A more advanced degree, certification by the State, all that really and truly (read: not at all) necessary stuff.
So, at various times, I attempted to return to school. Sometimes with the intention of seeking a degree in History, so I could teach that. Other times, I applied for MFA programs in acting. Most recently, I attempted to get myself going with a Master of Liberal Arts Program (mainly because a humanities degree is exactly what most employers are looking for.)
Please do not take me wrong… there is nothing wrong with people seeking these degrees. There is absolutely nothing wrong with people wishing to teach or to become professors.
I only (semi-)mock these things because they were not what I was meant to do…and yet I wasted so much time simply wishing to do them.
In this case, I am truly glad that my wishes did not come true. If they had, what would I have to show for it? Mountains of student loan debt and having to compete with thousands of people for 10’s of jobs. Would Jennifer and I have made it? Would we have Abigail?
Whatever we would have had, I am firmly convinced that what I do have is infinitely better.
Some are called to pursue these kinds of things. But for me, it wasn’t what God wanted me to do. I just wish I had understood that sooner.
I will wrap this up now, because I need to get ready for dinner and bed. I have to get up and go in early tomorrow. And when the normal shift starts at 6:30 AM, early is defined as while the rest of the world is still dreaming. I will leave them to their dreams, for I have found my life. And how sweet it is.