Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Where Do You Begin?

At times I imagine myself coming home as someone else. I don’t mean my apartment, which I don’t think I’ll ever consider a home. For me it’s just a place I spent some time. UTC Place was more a home than the Cardo, regardless of how nice it is.

What I mean, specifically, is going home to Oak Ridge as something I’m not, which is to say a successful professional of some kind or - teacher, doctor, lawyer, entrepreneur, whatever. Imagining the small talk is easy. “Hey, it’s been a while. What are you doing these days, Charlie? Oh, that’s interesting. Do you like it?” You get the idea. The thing that bothers me is that I can see myself fitting into these rolls. I am quite content with the knowledge that I literally could do anything if I put my mind to it. I could have been a teacher, or a doctor, or an astronaut, or musician, if I had wanted to be those things.
Some people knew what they wanted to do when they were 3 years old. BT wanted to play music all his life. Harlan Ellison wanted to be a writer for as long as he can remember. Jesse’s wanted to direct even in the womb. These are the people who achieve the kind of success Americans admire above all if they have the courage to follow their dreams. In cliché form, “The American Dream.” I get the impression that people like that are constantly working towards their goal. Even though they can be distracted by their jobs, a sudden crisis, or any of life’s disruptions, they are working towards something. No chasing a dream, hunting it, tracking it until they get their shot and can either watch it go or take it and mount the head on their cabin mantle. My point is, they see it. They know it’s there.

I’m not one of those people. Maybe you’ve known it longer than I have. Sometimes I get the impression that’s the case.

I’ve always been a little off kilter, a little out of sync with the norm. It isn’t that I lack passion, or ambition. It’s that I lack a sense of direction and finality, yet continually feel the pressures of both. Dr. Althouse observed last semester that my interests are in line with the doing of work than the final product, and I’m inclined to agree. I guess this explains my tendency to half-ass a lot of what I do. I simply lose interest after a while. If I set goals at all, it seems only with the purpose to begin a journey. It doesn’t matter a whole lot to me if I finish or not.

The only failure of I attribute to my educational experience is that I will be 25 in May and no better equipped to deal with the professional world than 10 years ago. And I’m not certain it’s my fault. I can say that I’ve bettered myself, but how do you sell that knowledge? How does that pay for a cheeseburger or keep the rain off your head? My specialization is a lack of specialization. I’m latex – bendy. “You can do anything,” is a great attitude to have, but the only way to prove it, if you believe in it, is to do it. Good inspiration, but light on practicality.

So, I’m sitting here wondering what my first job as a college graduate is going to be. How will I get it? How long will it last? What will it be? What will that first trip home be like? “Hey, it’s been a while. What are you doing these days, Charlie? Oh, that’s interesting. Do you like it?”


At 1:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm lumped in with stellar company there. Difference is, I haven't really directed anything yet. Stupid college.

- Jesse

At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's different when you're out, kinda gives you a new perspective on it. i mean hell, i just found out that i'm being groomed for the head of it position at work. took me till age 24 to become a PFY. Nobody knows for sure what tommorrow, those who claim to are usually trying to sell you insurance.


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