What I Want to Be When I Grow Up
It’s the end of summer, which always makes me weepy. It used to make me happy, back when I was in school. I liked school. I liked the structure of school. I wasn’t a fan of summer, with its long, creeping days that didn’t take on any particular shape. Now, it is the opposite. I wait all year for summer, and start dreading the return to school at the beginning of August. It feels like every fall takes me closer to THE fall, the one where the twins leave for college.
I can’t write those words without crying.
I’m a fucking wreck, and they’re still in elementary school.
Josh has been making a lot of changes, careerwise, and trying out new skills just for the fun of it, such as the Radio Race. It feels like fall is going to be a restart of sorts for him, and it’s certainly a restart for the kids as they enter a new grade.
For a few weeks, it has felt like everyone else has gotten new school supplies in their toolbox, and I’m left with my stubby, half-used crayons. Yes, my job looks different from day-to-day; it’s always changing, so that part is nice. But if I look at it from another angle, it’s also always the same. My hobbies have been trucking along for years now, especially since I gave up guitar. I loved learning guitar. I did not so much love practicing guitar. So after two years of lessons, I went back to my old hobbies. And that’s where I’ve been ever since.
It didn’t bother me when no one else around me was reveling in newness.
But it has bothered me more and more as fall moves closer.
I found a new hobby — game-making — a few weeks ago. It started with an uphill learning curve which made me feel very smart when I mastered the skill. I worked very hard on my first project, and by the time I was ready for people to see it, I was thinking that I had found my calling in life. This is who I was meant to be. I was going to do this forever. It made me feel so good.
Do you know how I felt? Like at the end of A Mighty Wind, when Harry Shearer said, “After that concert I realized I want to spend as much of the rest of my life as possible playing folk music with these gentlemen. And I want to spend all of it as a woman.” I already am a woman, so I have that covered, but I wanted to spend as much of the rest of my life as possible with my new hobby.
But it got a lukewarm reception.
Not a bad reception, just a lukewarm one.
I’m not really being fair. Josh pointed out that no one was ever going to be able to match the excitement of someone who feels really really good doing something new. In the same way that you can be excited about your friend’s wedding, but you’re never going to match her excitement on embarking on her new life.
So I’ve taken my expectations down a notch. Down a few notches. It’s good enough if someone enjoys what I made for a few minutes. I’m aiming lower than a superlative like fantastic, best, or even, super neat-o. I’ll call it a success if most people say, “oh… cool!”
I guess you can say that I found a new hobby to fill the gap that fall always brings, and a new community to go with it. And it feels like returning to school, moving back into some sort of structure that holds up my day.
Which is a long way of saying that I think I’ve figured out what I want to be when I grow up.
Have you figured out what you want to be yet?