I distinctly remember being in the 5th grade, sitting around at the end of class picnic and having to listen to everyone else prattle on about what they were going to “be” when they grew up. I only knew I wanted to be something that made me boatloads of cash without doing any actual work. What job that was, I had no idea.
To be honest, at 10 years old, I’d never thought about future career choices.
So when it came to me, I simply copied whatever the person before me said. It happened to be “a secretary.” At age 10, I wanted to “be a secretary when I grew up.”
I didn’t know what a secretary did, only that it saved me from saying “something that made me fistwads of cash,” or worse, stuttering blankly. Everyone else seemed so sure of what they wanted to do.
Every time I said that I wanted to be a doctor, people sort of patted me on the head and said a condescending “there there.” But a secretary, that seemed to be an okay choice. I turned 10, by the way, in 1990.
I never did find out what a secretary did until I became a nurse case manager in 2006, and I didn’t really let anyone deter my decision to become a doctor until I had a bouncing baby crotch parasite make that decision for me.
It wasn’t that I couldn’t do it, because I was always at the top of my science classes, but that it just didn’t make any sense. Especially with single motherhood looming. So nursing it was, and nursing I hated.
I’ve left the sort of nebulous idea of what I was going to be when I grew up idea to fester until I really had time to pursue it. I plan to go back to school to get my PhD in virology (study of viruses)(I make myself sound so nerdly)(wanna make out?) when the kids are older. But for now, I’m making a go at writing.
And because I’ve never been able to be very successful at anything that I’ve done besides sit at home and eat bon-bons* and watch soap operas, I feel like I need to make a success out of myself.
To prove to myself that I can do something.
Maybe that sounds dumb, I don’t know. But because I’ve never really had the opportunity to have some sort of career that I actually liked or felt like I could be any good at, I am earnestly saccharine about making this work. And I will make it work because that’s what I do: I make impossible situations work. Eventually.
(Like the time I ate a whole box of cupcakes in a day)
I don’t go to work and have co-workers and meetings and bosses and feedback and a desk and a commute and coffee breaks and status updates and a help(less) desk and a supply closet. Sometimes I wish I did.
My day is surrounded by small people who poop their pants and teeth on my legs. I love them with all my heart, but I love me too.
I’ve been beating myself about the head with a mallet trying to figure out how I’m going to make something of myself. What I’m going to make out of myself.
I flash back to the 5th grade picnic every time The Daver and I have the same conversation (tri-weekly) that I had that warm, spring day:
The Daver: “What are you going to do? Because you’re miserable here.”
Aunt Becky: “Is this a multiple choice question? I can totally beat those just by guessing. I’ll go with letter C. Always best to go with C.”
The Daver: “I’m serious, Becky.”
Aunt Becky: “So am I, The Daver. C is always the way to go**.”
The Daver: “You need to figure out what to do with your life.”
Aunt Becky: “Wow! Since you put it THAT way! Okay. I’ll draw up a list of options.”
(draws a stick figure of The Daver with Aunt Becky cutting off his head. Doodles blood spurting all over the page. The draws “HEEELLLPPP MEEEEE! I’M SOOORRRYYY! bubble coming from his mouth)
The Daver: “Are you done?”
Aunt Becky: “Yep. I figured it ALL out.”
It’s not that I don’t know what I want to do with my life, or even how I want to go about doing it, it’s just that these things take time. I’m a writer and the market for writers–even those with agents–isn’t hugely sprawling right now. So I wait.
I sharpen my knife, I pollute the Internet, I try to get my name out there without committing murder and I wait. Eventually, things will happen. My Empire is being assembled.
Bit by bit.
What else should I do while I wait, Pranksters? Because Daver’s right, I can’t live like this forever. I need stuff-n-things to do. Interview me, give me jobs, make me do things, help me, Band of Pranksters, I beg of you. (At least until the weather warms up.)
*WTF is a bon-bon?
**this is a lie.
I am totally going to make more of those cards available for (free) download. I’m in the middle of a site redesign, and I’ll have a whole page devoted to it because honestly, writing those was more fun than I’ve had in ages. BUT, I need to find more of the post cards that are FREE and not copyrighted.
So, Merry Pranksters, if you know where a certain Aunt Becky can find those (or if you want to make the images yourself and give them to me to use), it’s on like Donkey Kong.