Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How did I get here?

I want a trade. A craft. Some sort of something that you would apprentice for.

I've often heard writing referred to as a "craft," you know, "the craft of writing," but I don't write for a living. Sure, I write all matter of perfunctory emails and other administrative drivel, and every now and again, maybe every 1 post in 50, I feel as though I am actually "writing" something here on M&Y&E. But to repeat myself, I don't write for a living.

And I'm not a plumber, or a glass blower, or a copper smith, or anything like that. No, I'm just a 9 to 5 office girl.

And there are benefits to being a cog in the wheel, I understand this. I can leave my work behind at night and I'm not responsible for drumming up my own business. I just have to show up, do my work, and collect my paycheck. Someone else can stay awake at night worrying about the balance sheet.

But I sometimes wish there were more.

I'm currently reading "The Girl with No Shadow," Joanne Harris' follow up to her earlier book "Chocolat." Remember that book? Oh, to be a chocolatier! The textures, the smells, the joy you'd bring to all. Harris' descriptions of the process are intoxicating. I want to be one. At least for today.

But why didn't I choose to do something more particular with my life? Something that requires years of training and practice? Something that I'm passionate about?

Here's an example, the contractor I hired to remodel my kitchen a few years back loved what he did. He was engaged. He cared about craftsmanship. In fact, when he took a week's vacation while on the job, where did he go? He went up to Solvang, California (that darling Danish enclave) so that he could check out all the amazing wood working and furniture design stores they have there.

Me? Well I have a BA in anthropology and an MA in Latin American Studies. Wtf? Yes, I liked them both, really enjoyed higher education in general, but geez, why didn't I at least zone in on archeology? That's a trade. Kind-of. It's something tangible least.

Or why not wine making? Or acupuncture? Jewelry making, crypto-linguistics, or embalming?

The possibilities are endless. The time too short.

But I do take some comfort in the fact that I'm pretty positive I'm not the only one who is scratching her head thinking, how the hell did I get here? Why do I work where I do? How did I fall into medical publishing and stay all these years?

Is it fate? Destiny? Divine intervention?

No, I'm pretty sure it's apathy.


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Oh, Beth, I know *exactly* how you feel. Or at least I did, when I was working in the corporate world. Is that all there is? indeed.

Traveling around in our VW for the better part of 8 years changed all that for me and now I feel proud, contented and lucky to pour a delicious pint of frothy beverage for anyone who wants -- or needs -- one.

And so what if I have a mostly unused BA and MA in English? I can do the shit out of a NYTimes crossword puzzle -- that's worth something, right?


Me, You, or Ellie said...

I know how you feel too, I often wonder what stopped me from fulfilling my relentless childhood dream of becoming a figure skater.


I don't know that I could sustain myself for too long with the pouring of frothy beverages, though. I love the idea, but I also really love my paycheck :)

We should go to plumbling school or something, Beth! Now there's a trade that pays big bucks...



Me, You, or Ellie said...

We should, Jacquie, we could call it Me and You Plumbing, lol.

wonders how she got to Central PA said...

oh how I wish I was employed so I could long to do something more creative.
That college degree is doing much and the position on the school board is UNPAID!
or I wish that someone would pay me for the cute baby hats I knit, clever cakes I bake for birthdays, or random scrapbooks pages I get done. (they would be worth lots of money since they are few and far between!)
Nice post!

Debbie said...

I have always felt passionate about being a mother. I guess that sounds silly and trite but I didn't have that passion in my career - it came easily as a mom.