Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It All Comes Back to Spongebob

"Sorry I'm late students, I was stuck in traffic when that whole 'I'm going to be doing this for the rest of my life' thing reared its ugly head again and....and.... ANYway..." - Mrs. Puff

Whether you're a prisoner of Cubicle Land or a frustrated driver's ed instructor under the sea, it isn't always easy knowing what you want to do with your Life. It's only easy when you're a spry 17 year old, with the endless future stretching before you like some awesome trip through Bat Country. Even then, it's the HOW my friends, that gets you in the end.

I *always* knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. ALWAYS. I don't remember NOT knowing. Knowing was the easy part, as it turns out. Without going into the here and there of my dreams (by the WAY, Langston Hughes, I KNOW what happens to a dream deferred and pretty it's not), I remember when it first occurred to me that it might not be as easy as I thought. My grandpa asked me HOW I planned to do that. Just very quietly, very logically, very just like him.

"Oh, well Sam, HOW do you plan to go about that?"

Um. Well. Funny thing.

I had no idea. The having no plan is what lead to me going to college in the first place. Okay, that's actually not true; I went to college because college is what you DO in my family. My dad, specifically, equates lack of education with losing teeth spontaneously and digging ditches (possibly concurrently).
I couldn't IMAGINE working a JOB and not going to school - plus, if school were a job, I'd be upper management by now. I am really, really good at school. Read book, write paper, take test, rinse and repeat. Why yes I'd like that degree framed in cherry please. I'm not saying it wasn't hard at TIMES, like when I decided flavored long-islands and club music were more intriguing. I'm not saying that I didn't have some dark nights of the soul. Largely though, and math requirement aside, it was relatively easy for me to finish up. Once I knew I was staying in the game and not going to drop out because I was sick of thesis statements, I got it done.

Life though? Life has proved *infinitely* more challenging. I never did pursue my dream. Stick a fork in that sucker, it's done.

The Man doesn't understand. He thinks there is still time and I can do something with it. I know better. I don't think I could stand to try and...not fail per se, but not have it be what I want. I know it's better to go out on top of your game, and I at least can say that in my sphere of experience, I did that.

I write because I'm a writer. I do it because it's a compulsion better than chain smoking or cleaning out the fridge. That wasn't my dream because I knew my writing would always be there; my audience might change or even not exist, but I can always write.

If you knew me in 1997, you knew my dream. As our good friends Pink Floyd are currently singing to me, sometimes with the past, I wish you were here.

Since I only have the present, as my well-meaning but still not entirely successful therapist tells me, I will have to find something else to do with my future. Since they aren't handing out paychecks for providing the universe with awesome on tap, I will have to figure it out.

Comments, questions, what happened to your dream?