Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Buckle down, kid!

Growing up, I had 1000 ideas of what I wanted to do some day when I.... well grew up. My list was long, and well rounded. Teacher, photographer, marine biologist, singer, songwriter, actress (movie and Broadway), veterinarian, comedienne, wedding planner, costume designer, professional basketball player, Peace Corps worker, Playboy Playmate, social worker, psychologist, ghost hunter, psychic, Navy... person, choreographer, editor, dog trainer, painter/artist, journalist, novelist, archeologist, children's minister, astronaut, Princess Leia, Daisy Duke, and/or Madonna. (*Note how "chef", or "baker" is not actually listed in the previous list.)

There isn't exactly a college that caters to all those careers, so my senior year of high school I made the bold decision to NOT GO to college the following year. I can honestly say I was the only one of my friends that didn't go to college. The losers, the drop outs, the wrong-side-of-the-track-better-not-let-mama-catch-you-hanging-out-with-them, everyone, but me, went to a college of some sort. Tech school, art school, university, junior college. If they weren't going in to the service, they hit the books. Me? I decided to work for a year (ha!!) and think about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

~Wanna hear God laugh? Tell Him your plans!~
Isn't that how the saying goes? Oh He laughed at me alright! He said, "Girl, you don't need to go to college right now cause I'm gonna make you a MAMA!" And poof, there I was, 18 years old and pregnant. I no longer needed to worry about which of those 50 careers I had picked out I would choose. I had to worry about getting *any* job that would support my new baby girl because I had just been thrown in the middle of single-mom-hood. Forget college, girl! Raise this baby!
15 years ago I was less than two weeks from graduation. Who knew what lay in store for me? I knew I was scared to enter the real world, and looking back I'm glad God gave me that crash course at the school of hard knocks. I wouldn't have made it if He hadn't. I'd have been stuck in my parent's house until I was 30, STILL trying to decide what to do with my life.

I look back at high school and it's just one big mess in my mind. There's no beginning or end, there was no one friend that got me through, there wasn't any sort of particular "social class" that I fit in. I was just there. Invisible. Annoyed. Trapped. Very wrapped up in myself. How could I have ever focused on college when I was that young? These kids I go to school with now, they are 18, 19, 20 years old and so many of them are focused and ready to hit the ground running as soon as they can. It amazes me! I'm still not like that and I'm 33! Not saying I don't have ambitions, I just have quiet humble ones.

Now teaching my children to have loud, strong ambitions, that's a whole 'nother story. I want them out there, singing, dancing, getting noticed. They are going to change the world and make some noise. I want them to shake things up and get people's attention. Whatever it is they want to do, they need to *do* it with as much spunk as they can. Get on stage, wow a crowd, take the punches, learns the lessons, give until it hurts, wear your heart on your sleeve, and love what you are doing.

I have one child who makes these empowering speeches a tad difficult, though. He's more like me than either of us care to admit. Every week he comes to me with another "This is what I *REALLY* want to be when I grow up" story. I want to sit him down and say, "Look, I don't care if you're only in 4th grade. You need to buckle down, kid! Pick something for crying out loud!" Every single week it's a new thing.
"Mom! Guess what? I have FINALLY found what I'm going to be when I grow up! Isn't that great?! I'm going to be a....
professional hockey player
comic book writer
video game maker
Pokemon... person
air force... person."
This week, or rather, today, it's video game maker living in Japan. Great. I'll visit you at Christmas.

Not that I have anything against kids having dreams, but I would like for my kids to be traditional college students and not have their minds filled with SO many possibilities that they can't even narrow it down to a handful of, say five. Like me.

I'm in college, for the second time around, with a new degree program since last time, and I *STILL* don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I mean, how can I know? There are so many things to do in life. I would love to bake for a living, but is it feasible? My ultimate dreams are these:
~own a bakery/bookstore. A small local one in some cute little southern Wisconsin town (when we are done with the army).
~Work in a bakery just baking and maybe learning decorating as I go, but mainly concentrating on baking artisan breads and such.
~pursuing my writing dream full-time (already got one foot in the door, it can't hurt to keep trying).
~just giving up on all of it and moving to Tahiti. I'll spend the rest of my days living in a hut on the beach, catching/growing my food, never worrying about money again.

There is a lesson to be learned in all this. The lesson, I think, is to buckle down while you're young. There's no reason a 4th grader can't pick one career goal and work his tail off to achieve it. All this dreaming about 200 different job choices just creates confusion. That confusion can lead you to where I am today. A 33 year old college student who STILL can't just decide on a flippin' career already and be done with it!

**Thanks to high school friend Amanda for reminding me of my once HS ambition to get a boob job and be a Playmate.


smiley_netta said...

So it *wasn't* just me that was so undecided! LOL Although I must admit that your list is a lot more broad than mine ever was (and I was quite surprised at the Playmate! LOL). I pretty much bounced between teacher, singer, writer and just being a mom. I changed my mind with the wind between those ones, though. I will also be going back to school myself sometime soon...I'm chasing after the teacher route, at this point...we'll see if that changes or not...LOL

Chaos Mommy said...

Good luck, Smiling Netta! Maybe you could combine some and become a music teacher, or an English teacher :)

smiley_netta said...

Heehee, thanks! I originally was going to be a music teacher, when I was attending CSU, but ended up not enjoying it as much as I thought I would. My husband was the one that suggested my getting a degree in Literature, which I will most likely end up using to teach junior high English. :)