I was lying in bed last night, and between macabre fantasies of zombies lurking in my halls, and macabre fantasies of what might be slithering around under my bed, I was staring at the ceiling, slowly realizing that I have completely lost the plot on what I want to be when I grow up.
When I was nine, a family friend asked me what I would be when I grew up; I shirtily replied that I wanted to be a political analyst, despite the fact that I wasn't totally clear on what that person would actually, y'know, do. In high school, I raised my hand and asked what someone had to do to become a stay-at-home mom, which gave the teacher only slight pause before returning to the lesson at hand. University was an eight-year marathon of "who the hell knows that this degree is going to get me?" and my post-graduation career has been scattershot at best.
I have no clear idea in my head of what my business card should say, or even what I would want it to say. This is frustrating, because as my friends start businesses/head back to school to get college diplomas/entire second or masters degrees/climb the corporate ladder to a comfortable middle rung/pay off their student loans/start families/be actual, functioning adults, I'm still at a loss when someone makes smalltalk at a party by asking what I do.
What I do, these days, is write. I make crafts. I take baths and read comic books. I spend hours thinking about my stupid reproductive system and the various ways it's going to let me down. I meet friends for lunch and I hang out with my boyfriend. I cook. I job-hunt. I dance. And while it's all soul-nourishing, it doesn't exactly pay the rent.
Realizing I have no professional goals to speak of is terrifying. Unlike my friends in the service industry, I don't want to open my own themed bar. I have a horror of amassing more student debt by going back to school, and I have no idea how professional journalists get paid unless they're Lewis Lapham. I feel adrift, aimless, and worst of all, boring.
Sometimes I daydream about living in one of those dystopian worlds where your profession is assigned to you at birth, or halfway through your bar mitzvah — I mean, those places have some downfalls, but at least people have some focus. I took a quiz online that suggested that my ability to innovate and direct might make me ideal for a job in fields like wedding planning or Chinese medicine, but somehow, those don't really jump-start my engine, you know?
So I dunno. I'm open to suggestions. My boyfriend just came into my office and asked me what I was working on; when I told him about this blog post, he said, "Well, you're a writer!" which is both deeply encouraging and also like, dude: blogging doesn't pay my bills. I need some ideas on how to pay my bills without completely losing my mind (and I think, to the eternal disappointment of my nine-year-old-self, that political analyst is pretty much out of the picture by now. Bummer).