Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Newest Addiction

My newest addiction is personality tests.

I am compulsively taking every test that promises to tell me who I am, what I want and what I should do about it.

(They all seem to agree, by the way, that I should be either a teacher, librarian, social worker or psychologist. And here is what I think of that. I can't be a teacher because I have no patience with those who don't want to learn. I would like to be a librarian, I think, but I also wonder if I wouldn't get bored with it after a while. I can't be a social worker because I would get to emotional and I'd end up getting shot cussing some abusive son of a bitch out on his front porch. And I can't be a psychologist because I am just not ready for that much more school.)

The upshot is that I don't want to decide what I want to do. I don't want to say, "When I grow up..." because it's so freakin' final. And thus the obsession with the tests, because ultimately, I just want someone else to tell me what to do. (Which is probably why I'm even writing this post. And which is ironic because I hate being told what to do and will often do the opposite just to be contrary.)

I envy the people who have known what they wanted and stuck with it. The people who just always knew that they wanted to teach or be a doctor or build bridges in Paraguay. I can't do that, because I want it all.

I want to be a roadie for a really loud rock band. I'm thinking maybe Iggie Pop, here.
I want to be a DJ. Of the morning variety, I think. On a punk or 90's station.
I want to write books and have a seasonal home in the UK.
I want to teach kids to love books.
I want to own a bookstore.
I want to own a yarn shop.
I want to dress up as Miss Havisham and introduce kids to real literature.
I want to do kids programming about books.
I want to be a graphic designer.
I want to write ad slogans.
I want to be a storm chaser.
I want to steal cars. (For totally altruistic reasons. Think Gone in 60 Seconds.)
I want to be a professional surfer.
I want to talk about books, recommend books, discuss recurring themes.
I want to watch the lightbulb in kids' heads go on when I talk about setting as character.
I want to be a copy editor.
I want to be the person who reads the unsolicited submissions at a publishing house.

I could go on and on, but I won't. I don't want to be one of those people with career ADD. I want to dedicate myself and do something good that I love. I want to be passionate about my work. I don't ask to be happy every day, but I ask for moments of unfettered joy at the prospect of work.

And I don't think any of that is too much to ask, but then I think I must be wrong. There are a ton of people who don't do things that make them happy, but the paycheck makes them happy enough. People who aren't passionate about anything except five o'clock. People who have never had a single moment of unfettered joy on the job. People who do the work they do because they are good at it, whether they like it or not. People who do the work they do because the pay is good. People who do the work they do because they've done worse work and they appreciate it.

Am I being greedy for wanting to feel good about my work? For wanting to feel like I am making the world a better place while I toil?

Today, I proofread a letter for my boss. I won't go into the details, but I have to say that I didn't agree with much of it. Much of what we do in my unspecified nonprofit entity is good work that helps people and makes changes to the country that I believe are positive, impactful and important. I like a good chunk of what we do.

But I am not passionate about it. It's not my thing. It's good. You know, but not GOOD! I don't get excited about it or go on and on about the virtues of unspecified nonprofit entity and it's mission. And sometimes, like today, I kinda feel like I'm selling my soul for a short commute and a steady paycheck and the vacation days to go to my kid's Montessori open house.

I want to start over. I want to go back to school. With purpose this time, instead of just love for one subject. I want to get my Masters and go out into the world with a plan. I want to sink or swim at one thing instead of flailing around in the endless possibilities of the world.

The problem is that I am horribly indecisive and I can't decide what one thing. Plus, I can't afford to go back to school and I am worried about being away from my kids so much. So, I wallow, as The Husband says, in my own freakish misery and wonder if it should be any different.

I wonder how the internet can be so sure what is right for me when I am so unsure. And I wonder if I should listen to something so fickle as a multiple choice test. And I wonder if I would be a good teacher, if I could get kids excited. And I wonder if I wouldn't make a kick ass kids' librarian. And I wonder if I did either of those things, couldn't I retire to my bookstore and dress up as Miss Havisham every day? And I wonder if it's worth it. And I wonder if I need it. And I wonder if I'm making a mountain out of a molehill.

And I remember that on New Year's Eve, I bought a book to study for the GRE and I still haven't even scheduled to take the test. And then I wonder if I'm just scared. And what I would tell a grown up, scared Brynna in my position.

(And then I cry. Because I always cry. And because thinking of the girls grown up makes me cry. And because Hallmark commercials make me cry so just shut up and leave me alone.)


Suze said...

I know exactly what you mean, except I spent lots of years IN grad school and I'm still not sure that was the right path. Sometimes I think I hide behind motherhood as an excuse for not getting on a career track when the reality is I'm just not sure what to do or if I could succeed doing what I'm trained to do professionally. It sucketh. My birthday's coming up and that always makes me think about this stuff even more.

Jessi said...

Maybe we're just having third-life crises. (As opposed to mid-life. Not like this is our third life.)

Mrs. Allroro said...

(That's funny you said it couldn't be a mid life crisis--I just told a friend last night that she couldn't be having a mid-life crisis at thirty.)

I think you would be a great teacher, but I see you more in high school or college. Or adults--doing something like waht your mom does. But you could be a wonderful high school AP english teacher. I think all of my favorite high school teachers are no longer at the school anymore, so it's time for some new wonderfulness.

If you were a librarian, you could do many of those things on your list. And if you were a teacher, you could volunteer as a librarian and have summers off for rock bands.

Couldn't you be a psychologist after only two more years of school?