Tuesday, October 2, 2012
When I Grow Up
School is back in session, which transforms the landscape of this college town fairly significantly and by that I mean there is no place to park anymore.*
Truthfully, it is a bit strange to live as an adult in the same town where one went to college. The nodes of my life, as you might imagine, are slightly different these days than they were a decade ago.
For instance, I very rarely attend large, drunken parties now.** But I was remembering the other day a party I once attended at a bowling alley not far from where we now live. The theme of said party was "When I Grow Up I Want to Be A....." The thoughtfulness and painful honesty put into costume selection for that particular affair was remarkable. Several education majors dressed as teachers with aprons and handed out crayons. The bio-chemistry majors wore long white coats over their party dresses. One woman unabashedly dressed as a trophy wife, replete with a leopard print golf outfit and clubs with matching golf club covers.***
I dressed as a priest.**** At the time, I felt very clever for having things all figured out. That was until I grew up and realized that "what you want to do when you grow up" is about 10,000 times more complicated than figuring out what you want to wear to a fraternity party when you're 20.
Today, I wish that I had been invited to subsequent social events during that period of my life that would have alerted me to the future complexities I would face as a professional person. I imagine those events could have had themes such as:
"My second choice of career would be..."
"If I can't make a living doing the thing I want, I will..."
"If I happen to find a partner with whom I'd like to share my life, this is how we will cope if we both can't find fulling work in the same place at the same time...."
"I will know I am making appropriate progress in my career because..."
"I will balance strenuousness/fulfillment of work with quality of life outside work by....."
Perhaps our young minds could never have grasped these realities, so full of potential we felt, but it would have been fun shopping at Goodwill for these goods, no?
*But to be honest, there are many benefits to living in a University town, the best among them being football, an abundance of used books and cheap food specials.
** In fact, I go to bed long before those things begin.
***There was also a young man there who everyone knew as the perpetual student--he was in his eighth year at the college--who dressed as Tigger the Tiger. It's amazing how much truth comes out in such simple affairs, isn't it?
****And may I say that buying a black button-up dress shirt and cutting out a white piece of cardstock and sticking in the neck was not a bad solution for the procurement of a clergy shirt. I've paid loads more for products on womenspirit.com and not felt nearly as satisfied.