Did I make the right choice? When I decided I had to be a writer, when I decided to become a journalist because it was (then) a surefire way to get paid to write, when I decided to major in journalism, was I being idealistic or practical? Both? Neither?
Days like this make me think of a line from the movie “Little Women.” Jo is in New York, away from home and she’s chatting with a group of men about politics. Jo says something on the subject of suffrage. One of the men, Mr. Mayer, says to her:
“You should have been a lawyer, Miss March.”
And Jo replies:
“I should have been a great many things, Mr. Mayer.”
It isn’t extraordinary of me to wish that I am like Jo, or her real-life alter ego Louissa May Alcott. Wanting so much to be a writer. Regrettably stubborn and headstrong. A feminist, frustratingly ahead of her time (Jo, not me). Cutting off all of her hair (for a good cause, of course).
I think, like Jo, I could have been “a great many things” too. Today I spent hours talking to my neighbors at a high school graduation party about what I could become since “journalism isn’t working out for you.” A blackjack dealer at a new Pittsburgh casino, a substitute teacher for the local public school system, a licensed personal trainer, work backward and go into PR, a graphic designer for a friend’s company in Colorado. And as they’re saying these things to me, with nothing but good intentions, I couldn’t think of anything to say in reply. Nothing. My mind just went blank. These options didn’t evoke any feelings in me, good or bad.
So I came home and applied for a few positions at the casino. While taking my contacts out, I contemplated what it would be like to live and work in Colorado. I talked to two friends on gchat who simultaneously reopened the idea of going into PR. And it all felt like incredible defeat. To know what I want to do, and to be unable to do it. To see my classmates and colleagues doing what I want to do, and yet for whatever reason, I am the one that is stymied. It makes me angry. It makes me jealous. It makes me cry sometimes. Because in my mind, I see my 23-year-old self’s potential, not my current circumstances (unemployed, collecting unemployment, freelancing, and living at home) and it just doesn’t match up.
Stop. Take a step back. Breathe in. Breathe out. I am 23 years old. As a dear friend once said to me,
“Life is fluid … “
I could wake up tomorrow and find an interview offer in my inbox. Or I could find nothing. I could finish my freelance article and make a great contact. Or I could just have a nice interview and then write the story. I am 23 years old. What I do now doesn’t define what I will become for the rest of my life, but it does define my character. Did I pout? Or did I use that jealousy to motivate my job search? Right now, I’m probably pouting, but at least I’m turning my pouting into media.
So truly, thank God for this blog, and thank god to all of you, the readers, all 1,949 of you. However many (150 tops) or few (1) of you there are on any given day. And tomorrow is Monday, the day of the week I gave myself a self-imposed deadline for a self-created fiction project and that makes me feel pretty good. Even if I’m writing for myself, at the moment, I am still writing. (Plus my diary, but man is that a doozy. One word: unfiltered.) So here’s to Monday’s (never thought I’d say that), knowing what you want to do, NAY, were created to do, and finding a penny heads up in a parking lot, because, well, it can’t hurt.