Saturday, May 18, 2013

What I want to be when I grow up

So I’m forty-one years old and I finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up and I’m not very happy about it. And yes, I had to pause to figure out how old I was and then had to do the math, on an adding machine, and realize how old I was. At least I know how old my kids are – twelve and eight, right? Right.

I have decided I would like to get my degree in Library Science but major in English too so that I can either be a librarian OR an English teacher. (ha ha ha ha HA! I just spelled English wrong!! That’s so funny.) I love words and books and reading and grammar and spelling. I am still fourteen years old in my head, high school was one of the best experiences of my life, so why not spend the rest of my life in high school? On summer holidays, when I wasn’t in the Library (voluntarily), or had my nose stuck in a book, I was playing ‘school’ and handing out assignments to my little brother and sister and marking their papers with a red pencil crayon and stamping their papers with my smiley face stamp and handing out stickers. I had my own gold stars. I had my own smiley face stamp for crying out loud! I made my brother and sister and their friends take spelling tests. On summer break. I can’t make this stuff up, people. I am an excellent public speaker, and kids totally dig me. I should totally do this.

So you’re forty-one and you’re just coming to this conclusion now? What is wrong with you, Rantgirl? Well, I will tell you.

All my life I wanted to be a teacher. Whenever anyone asked me the “what-do-you-want-to-be-when-you-grow-up” question, I always said I wanted to be a teacher. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. When I would give that answer, the person asking would always tell me that I don’t want to be a teacher. The reasons why I shouldn’t be a teacher were vast and numerous:
  • You’ll never make any money being a teacher.
  • You’ll hate it because of the system
  • It’s a thankless job.
  • That’s a cop-out job. Those who can, do, those who can’t, teach.
  • Only girls that want to be wives and mothers get an Education degree so that they can meet their husbands in university only to stay at home and use their education degree on their children.
  • An English degree is useless.
  • You don’t want to be a teacher.
  • That’s not very glamourous or fabulous, is it?
  • You’ll never get rich and famous doing that, will you?
  • That’s a soul sucking job.
  • Teachers aren't cool.
  • Teenagers are selfish, hormonal, and cruel, you want to surround yourself with those creatures all day?
  • High school is the second circle of hell, why would you want to spend the rest of your life there?
  • Think about your teachers in high school – did you have any respect for any of them?
  • Teaching is so boring, I don’t see you doing anything boring.
  • Blah, blah, blah, blabbety blah.

Why, o why, o why did I listen to these people? Who are you to know what I want to be? You are the one who asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up, I told you, and now you’re telling me that’s not what I want to be? You don’t know me! You don’t know what I want!! I’m so mad at myself for listening to these people. Since they told me that I didn’t want to be a teacher, I never decided what I wanted to be when I grew up, I started dreaming of being rich and famous and fabulous, but had no clue how to do that. Since I never decided what I wanted to be when I grew up, I never went to university, because I didn’t know what I should major in. I never once spoke to my guidance counselor, and no one in my family had ever graduated from high school let alone university, so I had no direction from home, so I never knew you had to complete something called “generals” and I could have discovered what I wanted to do from there. I was so worried about wasting time at university in the wrong field and university is so expensive and there was no way I was going to waste money, so I just didn’t go. I did what I do every time I don’t know what to do – I did nothing. I just let my life live me.

I had a few other hurdles to get over that prevented me from going to university:
  1. There was no way my parents could afford to send me to university.
  2. When I was in Grade eleven, I decided that my parents could care less about my grades since they never said anything about them, so I chose being popular over studying and went from being on the Honour roll to being a C average student.
  3. I had mono in Grade twelve and was home sick the entire time between Christmas and Spring breaks, making my grades suffer even more. I barely graduated High School
  4. I never spoke to my guidance counselor about my future. I never knew I was supposed to. I was probably out sick with mono when all the Grade Twelves were being hauled in to Mr. Hugh’s office to discuss their future.
  5. I had no clue how to apply for a scholarship. I had no clue how to apply to university. I just knew it was a big commitment and really expensive.
  6. I thought that I wanted to be a fabulous fashion designer like Ralph Lauren or Calvin Klein or Donna Karan, or Coco Chanel, so I went to Fashion college. That was a bust. The dumb school I went to was mis-managed and went out of business before I could get my certificate.
  7. I should have listened to my Nana and gone to Kwantlen College.
  8. When I got older, I realized I was going to go on a mission, and I didn’t want to disrupt my education, so I put it off until after I got home.
  9. By the time I came home from my mission, I was supposed to be all responsible and grown-up and go get married.
  10. There was no way I was going to live at home for ONE more second, and I couldn’t afford to pay for university and live on my own, so I was stuck.

I ended up working a receptionist job and living in Vancouver (and loving my life), supposedly saving for university, then I met DH and the rest is history. I always had it in the back of my mind that I would be a forty-year old freshman – that I would go to school once my kids were in school and we would all do our homework together. Well here I am, forty-one, my kids are in Grades two and seven, and I’m stuck in an Administrative Assistant job and hating my career. Mind you, back when I thought that I would be a forty-year-old freshman I hadn’t factored in that I would be a working mom. I had always thought that I would be a stay-at-home-mom.

I am just so mad at myself for listening to them! Why would I do that? They don’t know me, I know me. Who are they to tell me what I want to do? The answer is that I didn’t have the self-esteem to say screw you ‘them’, I know what I want and I’m going to do this!! I desperately needed a mentor to guide me because I was too young and frozen and scared to ask for help. One of the problems with me is that I’m an extrovert on the outside and an introvert on the inside, so I’m too scared to ask for help, and appear too confident to seem to need help.

So what am I going to do? Sit here and cry that for the last twenty years I haven’t done anything with my life or do something about it? Well, considering I got some self confidence about two minutes ago, I guess I’m going to do something about it. Stay tuned.

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