Friday, March 22, 2013

In Honesty, Again

Four years ago, I took to this blog to confess my fears about the future as I approached my senior year of college. That soul-baring exercise helped allay my worries then, and I hope it will this time as well. 

The following is my journal entry for March 18. 

March 18, 2013

After a nearly snowless winter we've had some unexpected late accumulation, about an inch or so this morning with more anticipated late in the week. It didn't affect the roads at all but, predictably, was enough to get Thomas and Pie out of school.

They depart on Friday, along with my parents, for a week in Florida, and I'm looking forward to the distraction of hosting a few friends next Wednesday night.

Of late I've been plagued with doubt concerning my future and the career path I've chosen thus far. As an adolescent I had the kind of lurid fantasies all teenage boys do, of private jets and mounds of gold and rock stardom, fantasies I discarded when I realized the importance of joyful work as opposed to some nouveau riche vision of excess.

Money has come to occupy my mind again, though, because money matters. Increasingly, it seeme to be the only thing that matters in this country, and only through the possession of it can one have the things that should be--and once were--basic human rights: an education, healthcare, security in one's home, fair treatment under the law. Everyone else is simply left behind, and for them no legacy is permitted; surviving to the next paycheck is all they know of longevity.   

Next month I will turn twenty-five. I had thought for sure that by now I'd be on my own, not only supporting myself but contributing in some way to Thomas's college education, which will commence in the fall. Instead I'm still here. The gap between the potential everyone saw and the total failure that actually transpired is enormous and painful.

Of course, I recognize now that I was hampered to a huge degree by my health problems, which many on placed many of the dreams I had out of reach, even though I didn't know it. More aspirations may yet be foreclosed; can a person like me hold public office? Should he? My hardships have given me empathy and, I hope, wisdom, while my intellect allows me a firm grasp on the issues of the day. In those qualities I have something to contribute, yet I wonder if some hindrance lurks in my brain. Will there be something I don't understand? In a moment of panic will my judgement be comrpromised?

And in asking these questions am I being responsible or merely giving myself an excuse to withdraw?

I guess I'll find out some day, becase I will not abdicate my lifelong dream of making a meaningful contribution to my society. That dream has morphed, though. At eighteen I imagined becoming a celebrated politician and I indulged an inner monologue that fueled my need for self-aggrandizement. Now, having struggled to complete college, having seen friends go without medical treatment for chronic conditions because they can't afford hospital visits, having watched the traditional avenues for social advancement close even as the shackles on the working poor are wound tighter, I care about public service for an entirely different reason.

Yet I question, not for health but for financial considerations, whether I'll ever be able to act upon my impulse to serve. And therein lie the seeds of my doubt. Lately I've seriously wondered if I shouldn't send La Reine my regrets, resign my position, and intern with a publishing house or seek work at a Goldlands public relations company where I can tap into the kind of earning power that would allow me to build a life.

Agenting could do that, too, with the right project, but even with the huge potential payoff I can't wait forever. I'm going to have to impose some kind of ultimatum. In the time leading up to my twenty-fifth birthday I'll figure out what that is.


Jay M. said...

Isn't it a shame how much emphasis is placed on being a HAVE? Have money, have car, have job, have, have, have. I hear exactly what you are saying. But unless you are willing and able to impose on others for basic needs, money is important, at least for sustenance.

However, you've come of age at a time when the economy sucks, jobs - any jobs, are hard to come by, especially in any field that is specialized because no one dares to move on, thus providing the openings that new, young people should be filling. We are working later into life, and thus retiring much later.

Tough decisions, BB. I remember your excitement when you acquired your present position. But one must always look ahead, and make sure their basic needs, which require money, are met. I think it's incredibly mature of you to be thinking in these terms, and I am sure you will make the right decisions, since no one else can make them for you. And, you're still young. If you find you've made a decision that wasn't optimal, you've got the time to put it right, one way or another.

My only suggestion is not to give up what you've got now, until you've got something else already in the bag.

Peace <3

laura b. said...

Tough decisions ahead. Trying to balance your dreams with you day-to-day needs and realities will no doubt be trying. However, you seem to be prepared to consider your path ahead with a clear eye and an open heart.
And I really do believe that what may start out feeling like compromises could turn out to be wonderful new beginnings.

Arizaphale said...

I can't add much wisdom to that which has already been posted here, but I can reflect on the difficulties the current economic environment places on all our young people. Currently, my BA is working as a waitress, trying to get $ together to do her grand Gap Year tour. At 17, she's managed to find 2 (albeit small time) jobs in two months. The experience she gains will aid her in finding others I'm sure. My stepsons on the other hand, sit around playing online games and bemoaning the fact that they cannot get a job. I do not see my middle stepson EVER moving out of home. The BA can't WAIT to go. What am I trying to say? I guess I would just encourage you to recognise the gifts you have been blessed with. Yes, your health problems have caused some anxiety for you, but you are intelligent, articulate, educated and you have a good heart. You are way ahead of a vast proportion of the population. If you need to get some independence now and you think you have the means...I would encourage you to do it. Try not to plan ahead too much. Life has a way of f***ing that up if you do! Your need to contribute to society will always be there and as you find your feet and your place in the world, opportunities will present themselves. Well shot. Waddya know? I did have something to say!!!! (wise? can call that one!)

Sue (Someones Mom) said...

I do think it is difficult these days (or even in the past) to choose between making a living and living your passion. I told my kids to go for the passion and if your do, you will be not only happier, but success will follow. Of course, you have to be able to survive, eat, pay the rent etc., but you will work a long is so much better if you love what you do. my blog post today.

dawn marie giegerich said...

You write like someone so much older and than with a sort of relief I remember you are young with so much time ahead. Life is essentially a balancing act with easy times and difficult times sliding in and out like shifting plates on a mountain side and there is never a direct ascent to the top, thank god, how predictable that would be.

naturgesetz said...

Can you take another job without resigning your position as a literary agent? Maybe even something part time?