IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A PRETTY CUBICLE, ANYWAY
I forgot myself in the pursuit of the American Dream.
The words “financial stability”…”401K”…”benefits”…sweet to my ears, a ping in my heart. I’ve never known any of that.
I am a willing learner, an eager employee, a dedicated and able-bodied member of every company I’ve ever been a part of. I’ve loved my jobs, except for the Chinese restaurant. I even liked the diner with the floods and the cockroaches, despite the floods and the cockroaches. My resume, however, resembles that of a very, very creative middle-aged college student locked in time.
There’s nothing there that qualifies me for anything more than interesting dinner party talk. Spin all you want. I make pretty things for other people, sometimes on other people, sometimes for other people to eat. All pretties.
Then came Obama, and a speech about dedicating a year to bettering society. I signed up for nursing school and dedicated myself to getting As and letters of recommendation. When clinicals and Life intersected badly, I moved my goal a little to the left and moved to a four-year university for a Sociology degree. Sociology—> social work?—> all described to me by fellow students, and the general public as worth less than the paper upon which the degree would be printed. It seemed like a means to an end of my goal, a necessary step to springboard into grad school.
No, instead, I switched to Employment Relations. HR. In academic-speak, “Applied Sociology.” A real job with a bachelor’s, which I would need to support my daughter alone, because alone we had become since nursing school began.
Paycheck. Benefits. Steady. A cubicle, even!
And over the last few months, since adding that Employment Relations concentration to my degree, I’ve felt burned out and hopeless about my future. I was being smart, crafting a resume that would get me a Real Job at the finish line, right?
It took very direct conversation with someone who loves me to wake me up.
“What is your dream job?”
I could not think of answer, and I started to cry. I forgot my dream job. I forgot my dream.
During the conversation, I jabbered about being burned out with my life, school, recent failures. I jumped into an explanation of how I could most easily earn a living without this degree I’m pursuing, with some refresher training and basic equipment.
I spent the evening with my dear sweet handsome man, and I woke up in tears. This time, simple sorrow at having lost my ability to have a dream. Dream job, dream anything. I forgot to dream at all.
I remember now. Dreams resumed, to be tended properly. Dreams die if they’re not fed and watered.
Thank you, darling, for reminding me that I don’t want that cubicle.