I don’t like working. I really don’t. I dunno, maybe I got it wrong, this go to school and get the education and get a job and, of course, be completely fulfilled.
Two problems with that equation: First, it takes much more to be fulfilled than work, and those who think that it’s the be-all-end-all frighten me. I work for them—I don’t want to be them.
But, then again, and this is No. 2, were I doing something I truly loved I might be, nay, would be more than willing to keep at it until my fingers were bloody stumps.
And that’s where I may have gone wrong.
Bad planning, that’s all. Much in my life has been a lack of, or lack of decent, planning. And for the most part I’m fine with that, I follow my path, a combination of dumb luck and laser-like precision in regard to the goals I set, when I set them, but quite honestly, had I been better at the planning/goal thing from the get-go, I’d be somewhere else entirely, working my fingers to bloody stumps in a cold, damp studio making little money but, at the end of the day (or night, as tended to be the case), eyes bloodshot and mouth slack, it’d be worth it.
But maybe I’m at a crossroads. Perhaps. Before the holidays I met my roommate at UArts, wandered with her to her studio space, wandered around, and got so sad: Different school, same smells, sounds, feel. It took me eight years to get my bachelor’s degree, partly because I did it myself and sometimes money/ambition was hard to find, and partly because I simply did not want to leave.
Unfortunately, in this country you don’t get anything for free, and the student loan trolls are always breathing down my neck. Thus, Plan B., go with something else I love to do and seem marginally good at: writing. Only, journalism is no longer journalism, it’s clock punching and advertorials, and it pays complete and utter shit. So, here I am, working at a job that pays the bills, ain’t so bad—the people are cool, the cause it good, the end result is well worth the effort—and I’m still thinking, at the end of the day (when it eventually comes—ugh!) that it’s Just. Not. Right.
So where do I go from here? Who the hell knows. Nowhere if I don’t want to, but that’s never been my style. I just wish there was an easy way, a flash of lightning and the answers are clear, the direction obvious, fate steps in and tells me the way. Or, maybe that’s what it’s been doing all along. Fate. Karma. Destiny. I’m big on them all. I believe there are people who come into our lives for a reason, leave for a reason, and while I know there’s not just one person for all of us, there are those we meet who inspire us to be more than we are, who just appear and you wonder how the hell you got by without them before.
Maybe I’m just being impatient.
And intensely introspective, with a glass of wine, of course! (I am a writer after all. It’s one of the few perks—brooding over something alcoholic.) A combination of a conversation I had with one of my roommates this weekend and a book I’m reading about Pennsylvania coal miners has me in a funk. Maybe I’m just being picky, or spoiled, or unrealistic, but I feel as though I have a responsibility to follow my talents, due, for different reasons, to ancestors on both sides.
On one side you have the Pennsylvania coal miner and his wife, who worked in a sewing factory. Doing anything else was never an option, and survival was everything for my grandparents, whose own grandparents weren’t even born here. I watched them as they hid cash throughout the house and stock-piled canned goods, the behavioral remnants of the Depression. I watched them work, and, in the end, I watched them die–he from Black Lung, she from Leukemia. I ran the Dublin marathon with her name around my wrist, and lit a candle in St. Patrick’s for the woman who always wanted to, but never did, travel outside the U.S.
On the other side you’ve got my grandfather, the artist who traded paintings for alcohol and lived in a log cabin by a fjord, and his son, my dad, who also did his own thing, coming to the U.S. in his 20s to fly planes—something he had no idea how to do. These days I think he flies 747s, or something equally loud.
So, I feel I owe such a tremendous debt to so many people for making it possible for me to have options, and to know that, if you have a goal, you just have to work for it until it happens.
I have such a hard time living in the here and now sometimes, like now, thanks to a nagging at the back of my brain: “More. There’s more.” I’m just not sure what it is or how to get there. Perhaps I simply need to get some sleep …