Friday, July 5, 2013

To Be... or To Be Confused

You all are getting an extra special blog post from me today because I missed last Saturday and I'm feeling pretty weird from getting a tetanus booster shot today. Also, it's time for me to finally fess up I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing with my life.

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Zero. Zip. Zilch. Love. Nada. I have no idea what I want to do and where I want to start. I believe that the existential crisis that comes with being a liberal arts college graduate who's bad at making decisions has finally made itself apparent.

It started making itself present when I realized that I'd really like to be a dramaturg and work in theater. Dramaturgy is something that is perfectly up my alley and I was a bit embarrassed to realize I'd never heard of before. Not surprisingly to me, it doesn't generate a lot of money and it tends to be volunteer work. Which is fine - I could do that and have a day job and maybe eventually work up to a place where I could eventually get a paying gig as a dramaturg.

So then I started looking into another career option that really interested me - doulas. Doulas are a bit like midwives, except that instead of being medically trained, they are there for emotional support for both the mother during pregnancy and for the partner. Overall, they couples transition into having a new life in their... well, life. Given my interest in women's studies and psychology, this also seemed like a perfect fit. Except that becoming a doula is rather unclear - you can take classes for it but there is no one place to do this training, and one can become certified through a few organizations but some doulas claim that this is not necessary. Also, it either functions as an independent business or unpaid volunteer work. Which would be fine, if I weren't already juggling the unpaid enterprises of writing and probably dramaturgy.

And so, after talking with friends the other night, I realized that maybe I should go to nursing school. People have before suggested that I go to med school because I have an interest in science and helping people and apparently have the right disposition for it. However, I claim to dislike bodily fluids and dodge this idea. Everyone wants to be a doctor or a lawyer, and that life's not for me.

Except... except that I have an immense amount of respect for nurses after interacting with them a great deal while my mother was in the hospital a year ago, an interest in medicine and health, and would like some stability in my rather loopy life. Not that nursing is stable, but it is a clearer career path than being a doula.

Of course, it doesn't end there. Going to nursing school would be a big decision - a big expensive decision - and I'd have to take at least three extra classes before I could even apply, because I have no anatomy, physiology, or chemistry background. It wouldn't make it impossible - my alma mater has a degree specifically designed for students with a non-nursing/science background to apply to their program - but I'm worried that I just want to do this because A) I have no clarity and this at least currently seems clear, B) I would like a job that is both fulfilling and is more than volunteer work (ie: it has a salary), and C) it sounds really great and wonderful and for once in my life I wouldn't have to spend five minutes just explaining what sort of work I do and people would generally recognize such work as rewarding and legitimate.

In other words: Hello, existential crisis.

I have to admit that I am considerably jealous of my friends who have jobs or have a clear idea of what they want to do in their lives. My friend Kevin has wanted to be a meteorologist since middle school and I sort of want to punch him for it not because he deserves to be punched, but because I am very badly handling my lack of career ideas. I'm envious of my friend Danielle who recently left with the Peace Corps to go to South Africa because I admire her ability to commit to a two-year program that, as difficult as it may be, she showed little reservation about participating in. Hell, I'm even jealous of my friend Sarah who commiserates with me about not knowing what to do with her life but appears better at coming with a plan - or at least faking that she has one.

Considering that just a few months ago I wanted to go to grad school to study Shakespeare, I certainly am in no position to make sudden decisions, not that going to nursing school would be one (I wouldn't start until fall of 2014 anyway). But there's so many things I want to do and I have simply no idea where to start or what to do with my skills. I love theater. I love writing. I love science and talking to people and helping people and discussing life and philosophy over cups of tea. What in the world could possibly combine all of that, besides being a philanthropic novelist who gives talks about... stuff? Which is what I'd really like to be but how to get there... no idea. Not a one.

Money isn't too much of an issue as I do have a pretty nice looking savings account, thanks to my family. But I don't want to have to use that unless I really, really need to or am using it for special occasions.  I'm an ace at making mistakes and I would like to have a little monetary buffer there in case I make a rather spectacular one. However, it also seems like I don't have a right to complain when so many of my compatriots have no such savings and have a lot of debt from school. Which only serves to make me feel worse that I have so many advantages and still no idea of what I want to do.

So. I'm in a bit of a crisis. Can't say I'm really surprised, but I'm hoping that I can at least get some clarity by the end of the summer. We'll see.

My apologies that this blog hasn't been very fangirly of late. Tomorrow's post will be about me but also some fangirly stuff, so there's that (and it will serve to show that as jealous of my friends as I am right now, I am likewise just as capable of incurring jealousy for my mad adventuring) and then I'll do my best to get more fandom topics back on here. Unfortunately, many of my fandoms have been rather quiet of late... which is unsettling. It's like the calm before the storm.

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