Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Let's bring this mother back to life!

I've spent months and months figuring out to do with myself as an adult human person. The expectations of childhood are that adulthood will bring with it a sense of certainty and purpose; you'll know what you're doing because you're a grown-up, of course. Adults solve problems. Adults know what's up.

As you have perhaps realized in the course of your own introspection, this expectation is farther off-base than Rush Limbaugh talking about women. Mere weeks from my 27th birthday, I now understand what escaped me for years: nobody knows what they are doing, and everybody is winging it.

It's not all bad. Facing a million different paths without a map is daunting, terrifying, but also liberating. I can be anything, do anything! But... how do I do that?

By starting, of course.

Since my last writing, I got a job in the "big city," moved out of my parents' house, and moved apartments twice. Yes, that's three, count 'em, three moves in the last year. Yes, I hate moving. No, I never want to move again.

Having carted enough boxes to last me a lifetime, I moved on to the considerably more arduous process of making a mental move. What do I want to do? Who do I want to be? How many self-help books can I add to my wish list on Amazon before they say "enough"?

And so, I set about combing the Craigslist of the mind to see what kind of gig I'd like to end up with. I bit the bullet and bought one of said self-help books to find out if it would advance my quest, or leave me with more questions. The book is I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It, by Barbara Sher and Barbara Smith.

After pondering sufficiently if they each refer to their writing partner as "The Other Barbara," I actually read the book. On vacation, no less. Nothing like a little soul-searching while one's off-brand sunscreen fails spectacularly, giving one the look and feel of a splotchy, painful tomato. ("Painful Tomato" would be a bitchin' band name.)

Having already given the matter considerable thought, some of the conclusions I drew upon finishing the book were not entirely surprising. I'm not happy where I am in my career. Fact. Obvious fact. I need to do something different. Again, obvious. But what is it?

Despite the title's claim, this was still not immediately clear by book's end. This isn't likely the fault of the text. I've always been a bit of a hobby-go-round. Formal education excepted (my passion for the English language knows no bounds), I tend to learn the gist of something: just enough to be able to understand it or obtain basic skills, and then I move on to uncharted waters.

But you can't specialize in everything, and not all hobbies can be successfully translated to full-time occupation, so it's necessary for me to be a bit more selective. I'll have to keep noodling away at it until the heat from the friction of my brain-gears grinding is enough to boil this idea soup down to its essential parts.

I'm proud of that metaphor, and I'm sticking to it.

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