Wednesday, December 3, 2008

your hormones are raging so just pick a major

I find it appalling that American youth are asked to make critical decisions about their future at a time when breast size and Friday night football take top priority. Most haven't served a burger let alone their country and the idea of reading something with actual chapters is nauseating.

When I was eighteen and enjoying the repercussions of a generous chest I was faced with the question: What will you be when you grow up? I had been walking dogs free of charge at a veterinary clinic for years, so it was only natural that I wanted to be… a veterinarian. In college, I remember looking down on my classmates in general education classes affixed with the “undecided” scarlet letter and thinking how they really should pick a direction or they’d end up eating “special” brownies after their shift at Ponderosa for the rest of their lives.

I sit here as a qualitative illicit drug researcher (think non-veterinarian) wondering how, with the exception of the breasts, not one shred of those poop-scooping teenage dreams are with me today. Maybe the kids on the hallucinogenic baked goods had one up on me. I spent the beginning of election season pondering how someone could label themselves an independent and by the end, and not a single robo-call, I wanted shed my democratic labels. Our political process has taught me that ANYONE can be a vice presidential candidate and, moreover, you get more attention if you make your mind up late in the game.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately as I study once again for the dreaded GRE (math called, it hates me). I want to go back to earn a terminal degree and although I know it will be in the field of public health (my Masters wants a sister), I still have no idea what I will be when I grow up. I aspire to be the Surgeon General but since I will leave the MD degree to my husband I may need to settle for something else.

For the last two days I’ve thought about all of the things I want to do, career or otherwise: birth a child and raise it to be a contributing member of our society, travel to Norway and Ireland, wear something fashionable and actually pull it off, celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary with my sweet husband, learn to knit, go to the Ellen show, and take a photography class. I want to take a photography class. And then I thought – why wasn’t I a photographer? Why wasn’t I a singer? Why am I not in marketing? Why am I not a freelance writer for a chick magazine? Maybe all of those undecideds have taken those jobs. Maybe while I was palpating cows with my one-track mind, other people were exploring various interests and joys only to spin a bottle and land in one exciting direction or another. Maybe they are living in a posh flat sorting through stacks of book reviews and photography journals awaiting their next flight to a Swaziland relief mission. The realist in me knows that with an obsessive desire to plan my every step an ambiguous future has never suited me, but I want to be open to paths with which my heart and skills can take me. I am fun, imaginative, creative, passionate, smart, level-headed, organized and my piece will fit into so many puzzles. One day I will take a photography class. And maybe eat those brownies too.

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