To Be

March 13, 2010
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I don’t know. I don’t know what to say about that. When I am asked what I’ll do with myself, with my future, I draw blanks. That is not to say I don’t think about it, I do. There is this quintessential and definite answer that people expect from you. It starts with, “Oh, yes I’m planning this,” and “Yeah, I’m sure it’ll go great,” and so on. No one really wants to hear your speculative thoughts on the matter. So, when I answer that inevitable question in regards to my future, I say I don’t know. And that’s the conversation killer. They move on, and I can continue wallowing in self-pity, wondering why I could not have come up with a satisfying response.

I could be a lawyer. I really could do it, I think. I have an argumentative and defensive gene, which I can without a doubt say I have inherited from my mother, which would enable me to ease my way into the world of trials and affidavits and grim-masked judges. So it’s a thought. More than a thought, if you want to get technical about it. I’ve done law-programs for prospective law students still in high school. I’ve debated on a team. I’ve won countless social arguments, you know how it is. But when you get down to it, there’s a chance I’m not made from attorney flesh, which I’m starting to believe now. I’ve sunk deeper into the crevices of shyness, and when you see a girl who doesn’t raise her hand in every class, and has an embarrassingly high-pitched voice, you don’t picture them to grow up a lawyer. You picture them in some cubicle typing god-knows-what and flinging paperclips at coworkers. Just to let everyone know, that won’t be me. I won’t be that boring cubicle paperclip person. I think I’d die before I’d let myself become that.

Well. There is always this thought I’ve been having of becoming a psychologist. I sound like such a snob when I talk about this. I imagine myself with a pipe and top hat and an untraceable British accent, boasting to my wealthy acquaintances. “Why yes, my good fellow, of course law is a prospective option for me, but if I should happen to change my mind, there’s psychology! I am quite intelligent, as you know, Watson. I could be a great psychologist! Ah, the study of the mind!” I don’t know who Watson is, exactly. I might have put myself in the shoes of Sherlock Holmes. But still, if you take away the bigheadedness, here I am, and I am keeping psychology an option. I’d love to learn why people think they way they do, if character is really a matter of soul or chemistry. I would love to spend my career days analyzing a patient’s behavior and body movement and so on. I already do that, in a way. I definitely do take my thoughts a little far on occasion, allowing myself to run off on my usual stream of tangents. This person on the train might have had coffee with a granola bar for breakfast. She probably goes to Starbucks and works out at the gym in her building, and her boyfriend is the athletic, easily-frustrated type, and her mother is a confused old woman who wears outdated makeup and yells at taxi drivers and maybe she grew up in Boston and then moved to New York when she was young. That happens often. But most of the time, I really try to know what people are thinking and feeling without them having to explain themselves to me. I am so satisfied with myself when I can observe a person’s characteristics and feel as if they’ve cut themselves open and shown me what they consist of, leaving little unexposed. So yes, perhaps I would not fail as a psychologist. Perhaps.

Perhaps if my grades fail me, and the faint outline of an Ivy League school disappears ahead of me, I will reconsider these two options of the intellectual type. I like to bake. I really do. I’ve always had this vision of myself owning a cozy pastry-coffee-book shop in the city. It would have old couches and mismatched china and red walls. It’s perfectly possible that I would go to pastry school and learn everything I need to know to open shop. So here lays another direction towards which I could turn. I will either prove my cases, ask patients “And how does that make you feel?” or decorate cakes.

So what will I be? I have a few ideas. What I’ve realized, as I’ve devoted an increasing amount of my thoughts to the situation at hand, is that any of these occupations would aid me in growing into adulthood. Any of them will mold me, but none of them will define me. I can make numerous objections in court and still be able to recite the words to Titanic. I can analyze patients and still never fully be able to analyze myself. I can sell a box of cookies and still love Mexican food. None of these jobs will take away from me my name or my voice. So, in the long run, does all this confusion really matter right now, at this moment? I suppose it doesn’t. This is why I can’t answer this question. My future isn’t necessarily who I am at the present. Ask me in 15 years. But to tell you the truth, in 15 years I will probably still not know what to say.

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EleanorRigby This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm
Please leave a comment and tell me what you think!
Jessica911 replied...
Jul. 16, 2010 at 11:18 pm
I really like this piece.  Your career choices are so different, but each option expresses a unique aspect of your personality. 
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