May 15, 2011

When I Grow Up

Sometimes it would be nice for life to be this easy.

When I was little I was going to work with animals and I was going to be a mommy. In high school I was going to be an animal trainer. In college I was going to be a journalist. Post college I was going to be a writer (whatever that meant). When the economy tanked and the opportunity to go to grad school presented itself I desperately wanted to hop on that boat, but I didn't know what to study. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life: biology sounded great but I'd need to completely start over and I still had no idea what I wanted to do specifically. Journalism still sounded fun to study, but the idea of being a reporter was totally unappealing.

This went on until last December. I was at my mom's for Christmas and it was just us two, talking and drinking wine. I was complaining about the sucky job market and how I wanted to get my master's but couldn't decide in what when she asked what seemed like a really obvious question: "Do you know what you want to do?" I started laughing (kind of hysterically) and practically shouted at her. If I knew what I wanted to do I'd be doing it, or at least taking the steps to do it.

The following months somehow sparked a change. I remembered the deadline to apply for schools was early February and if I didn't do it now I wouldn't start my master's until late 2012. Towards the end of my undergrad I took a few sociology courses because I'd always been interested in women's issues, but after two classes in which I learned women are valued less than men, no matter where you are in time or space, I got bored. In the years since sociology has stayed in the back of my mind; until a few months ago when I saw the deadline to apply was days away.

After years of not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, being confused about my hopes for love and wishing to return to the time and place I was happiest, I know exactly what I want. And knowing is weird. It's weird to have answers to big questions like life and love. My dream life, which I'm working towards, is to get my master's, work in a field I'm passionate about and fall in love with a certain someone.

The sucky thing about knowing what I want is recognizing that there are certain things I just don't have control over. I know what I want to study but certain admissions departments don't think I'm deserving of the opportunity, I know what I want to do but it depends on available jobs, and I know who I want to be with but a certain person still lives too far away. Finally knowing what I want is freeing, but it can also be debilitating when it's something I can't have.

At least a girl can dream, right?

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