When I Grow Up

Every Sunday morning I check Postsecret. If you don’t…you should: Click Here.

I find myself growing jealous of the liberation one must feel after sending in a post card with a secret on it that he or she  may not even have wanted to admit to themselves. The intriguing thing about secrets is the fact that the person we have to work the hardest to keep a secret from is….well, ourselves. It’s almost like to utter to words would to admit defeat, would admit the fact that the secret isn’t just a fantasy or someone elses problem but an extension of who we are. Good or bad.

With that said, I’m going to start the new year with disclosure of a secret I’ve had trouble coming to terms with myself. This secret is elusive, because it’s not accurate every day. It’s only true when I’m at my worst. It seems when we’re having a hard time, that’s when our mistakes,our secrets–our fears–are most palpable.

Some days…when everything is going wrong, and my internship and my class schedule is stressful, I think to myself: I’m not cut out for this.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. That’s not a secret, that’s just a symptom of an inevitable graduation. But if you think about it, I made 2 big decisions after I graduated high school:

What college do I want to go to?

What major do I choose?

Now, as a seperate entity, these decisions aren’t too hard, at least for me. The college was easy, it revolved around my swimming. The major was easy too, I found one communications class, and stuck with it. But what I didn’t realize was how these two decisions shaped so much about my life now.  It showed me who my friends were, how often I go home, how much debt I will be in after college, what team and coach I would swim for, what I could study, how much money I’d make, what jobs I would qualify for, what subjects I would understand. Then, after the choice of major, I didn’t have my job chosen for me after college, I had other jobs crossed off the list! Instead of earning a job, I feel like I simply isolated myself from all other possibilities.

When I was younger I wanted to be a marine biologist, and then I wanted to be a teacher, and then I wanted to be a social worker. I even went through a phase where I wanted to be a dietician. (Yeah, no one knows that…I don’t think I told a soul.)

The point is…no little girl grows up thinking, “I want to work in an office.” No little girl tells her mom she wants to work in Public Relations, or Advertising. Or that she wants to work her way up the corporate ladder.

When I told my little buddy at the Brigade Boys and Girls Club I wanted to be a Public Relations Practioner. She looked at me like I had just told her something in Latin.

And yet…indirectly, this is my dream. Or this is the dream I have planned for myself without even knowing it. Sometimes I catch myself still saying, “Oh, when I grow up, I’m going to…” and then I have to think. I am a grown up. For all intensive purposes, I am considered and adult. When did that happen? Where was I? Sometimes when people ask me how old I am, I find myself wanting to say 16. Sometimes I want to say that, so they won’t ask me what I’m doing after graduation.

Now this isn’t to say people don’t switch careers, I know they do. Especially with a degree as vague as Communication Studies. But it’s the possibility of all those other careers I could have chosen, it’s the knowledge that there were other opportunities out there that come May 9, I’m just not qualified for. It plagues me! It makes me question myself, my ability to assess my skills, and most importantly, my ability to make a decision.

Sometimes I find myself wishing I had been a teacher, it was what I wanted to do for so long. And yet…somewhere along the line, I’ve lost sight of whoever it was that I wanted to be, or that I was.

The real secret is: I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

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One response to “When I Grow Up

  1. Oh Ryan, every time I read on of your blogs I find myself nodding like an idiot to everything you’re saying. I feel this post tremendously. I majored in Bible and Religion–so what am I going to do when I…I mean, now that I’m grown up? Honestly, I find when people ask me what I majored in, hear my answer, then ask me how I’m going to use that in the career world, I want to slap them in the face. I don’t know about you, but I went to college to learn, not to get a job–though I did have hopes of having one when I graduated (a hope that has yet to be realized). If I had gone to college to do a specific job afterwards, I would have gone to a tech college, not a liberal arts college. Though your situation is different from mine, take this from my experience if you’d like: Do what ever the hell you want. If it includes what you learned for your major, awesome. If not, if it’s just something you love to do, awesome. I want to be a Graphic Designer, and I haven’t taken a single class in Graphic Design. But I haven’t let that stop me from applying to jobs using the experience that I might have in that field instead of any education. Your degree can open up more doors than you think. Mine just makes people look at me like I’ve got something on my face–but I don’t regret one bit what I majored in. If you love communications, then you did what was right for you. The job will work itself out, I have faith.
    Again, I’ve written a novel that probably makes no sense. Hurrah.
    Miss you Ryan.

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