If we throw out everything I wanted to grow up to be when I was a kid - Astronaut, Starfleet Officer, Writer, or President - and make a list of only the majors and career paths I've gone down (or talked about going down) as an adult, here's what you get:
Marine Biologist because I once got a 100% on an oceanography exam.
Teacher because I was working with kids.
Early Childhood Administrator see above.
Social Worker see above.
Fashion Designer because I remembered I was kind of okay at sewing after I caught an episode of Project Runway.
Cruise Ship Worker because I went on a cruise and the DJ was hot and I and didn't realize the workers slept in racks.
Merchandising Manager because I got 13 sketches in and realized I'd actually be a crap fashion designer.
Rock Music Journalist because I once read a lot of Pitchfork and then re-watched Almost Famous.
Event Planner because getting paid to party is a sweet job.
Mathematician because I got smashingly good grades in Calculus when I bothered to show up.
Accountant because it was a more viable ($$) career choice than mathematician.
Famous Genealogist because I didn't realize it had already been done.
My day job involves food and a hat, so obviously none of those illustrious careers ever panned out. Some of them might have gone somewhere if I'd cared enough to make them happen, but I was distracted by a Boyfriend or some free beer or some other lark every time. By the time I'd put my sh*t together again I was on to the next thing.
Buckling down and doing something felt claustrophobic; and I resented feeling like I had to choose which Barbie I wanted to be for The Rest of My Life. So I flitted about from True Calling to True Calling until I wound up dependent on my paycheck. Luckily, I'm paid so ridiculously well for what I do that when a girlfriend of mine told me how much she'd be making if she landed a job she interviewed for at Google, I laughed and pointed out that she'd be making less at Google than I make wrapping hamburgers.
You can go cry over your master's degree now. I'll wait.
But I'm not slinging burgers because I've finally realized my lofty dreams of grease-covered glory. I'm there because it's a living. I'm there because I like it alright and it pays the bills and leaves my brain free to think about other things, like making jokes on the internet. I'm there because I had a proper grown-up job with a cubicle and a title and business cards- and it made me so miserable that I clawed my face in my sleep.
My back hurts sometimes, but I? Never go to bed worried about office drama.
But as I was portioning out a fry one day, one of our regulars asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.
"Well, I was going to be an astronaut!" I answered cheerily.
I slipped a napkin in the bag and handed him his food with a big smile and then I died a little bit inside as he laughed at my Funny Joke.
My twenty sixth birthday is looming less than two weeks away and I still have no idea what I'm going to be when I grow up. I've got no designs on Fast Food Management and I flubbed the whole astronaut gig when I f*cked off in the eighth grade. And NASA cut the budget on the manned space program anyway.
My options are limited by more than just the crap economy; I never did get around to procuring an expensive bit of paper to prove that I'm as smart as my Mama says I am.
And even if I had a Master's Degree, or even a Bachelor's, I would cry over mine too because I wouldn't know what to do with a degree- other than hang it up in a gilt-frame and screech,
"LOOK. AH'M SMART. AH GOT MAH PAYPER!" every time I noticed someone noticing it.
On the other hand, I'm happy to not be working my student loans off in indentured servitude to the Olive Garden, which is where quite a few Masters of Whatever slag off even with a fancy smart paper. Standardized testing and the 99th percentile I scored every time back in high school be damned- I don't have mah payper, y'all. I've been running around doing just about anything I wanted (other than finding a Real Job) for eight years.
Astronaut is out, Starfleet's not real, and President looks like a loser job (in the sense that if you have it, you can't win), so out of the all the things I swore I'd grow up to be, Writer would appear to be the only viable option left.
But I am deathly afeared of sucking at it.
So thanks for reading.
If next week I decide I'm going to be a chef because I parked my ass in front of TLC for a few hours, y'all will be the first to know.
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(this title of this post was lifted from the song "Permanent Kitten" by the now defunct band The Actual.)