We just finished watching “Julie & Julia” and it was everything I thought it would be and more. It comes at the most perfect time when I find myself in the same dilemma as the two women depicted in the movie. Both lost, uncertain what to do with their lives. It’s comforting to know that the fearless Julia Childs was at one time confused and lost and jumped from activity to activity trying to find her calling. These stories are always a double-edged sword for me because they comfort me in the fact that I’m not alone in my quest to find myself but these stories always have a happy ending – the main character always wakes up with a grand idea or has an epiphany while taking a stroll through the park. Their ideas always appear ever so effortlessly. Needless to say, I’m still waiting for my big idea. It’s funny that this was the central theme of the movie since I’ve been trying to write a post on my quest for life’s meaning for about a month now but could never express the right words.
I’ve expressed my journey for purpose at one time or another and I feel that my confusion has been magnified over the past year or so. When I had Olivia, I thought this emptiness would be filled with the newfound role of motherhood but the feeling has been replaced with an insecurity that Olivia will grow up with a less than perfect outlook on her own mother. I feel this overwhelming dread that I’m not providing Olivia with a good-enough role model for her – that she won’t respect me. I argue with myself everyday that it’s not the occupation that’s a measure of a person but for some reason I always come back to this argument. Is my destiny to be a homemaker or am I destined to find something more? When I was a young girl and I thought I was destined for greatness, was this it? With the addition of websites like Facebook, I have the unfortunate luck of discovering long-lost friends and past colleagues who proclaim what newfound profession they have conquered or the latest promotion they have received and I can’t help but feel somewhat envious. Where along the lines did I get so confused?
I often mention to Ryan that one of my biggest mistakes was choosing Marketing as a major. My original justification for choosing Marketing was it’s endless array of opportunity. Being a person who had no clue what to do after college, I decided to pick a major that was filled with opportunities. Problem I’m discovering now is you never give a person an endless supply of choices if the person has difficulty making decisions. I have a trend of getting overwhelmed with ideas and shelving the entire project out of frustration. Perhaps that is what I have done with my career – the unlimited list of opportunities left me confused and frustrated and I just wiped my hands clean of the entire idea of marketing. It really was a stupid idea for me to pick Marketing – with my social anxiety issue, it’s like a person picking the profession of teaching when they hate children.
I am constantly torn with the idea if I should return to school and pick a new career path – perhaps something fun and frivolous that encourages creative growth or should I do something noble and contribute something back to society – something that would make Olivia proud of me. I often think maybe I should go to school and become a nurse or a teacher. My biggest fear is never finding anything that speaks to me. I fear I will bounce from idea to idea and Olivia will think of me as “flighty” with no real direction or purpose. It’s a problem that eats at me everyday and I am determined to do something about it. I’m planning on creating a New Years resolution for 2010 (more to come later on that topic) that will give me some short term goals – nothing dramatic but something I feel that will help build character and hopefully something that will jump out to me and create that lightbulb moment I’ve been waiting for.
I hope that in some sense that my story does have a happy ending so I can teach Olivia that it’s OK to not know what you want to do with your life. I hope that my story can teach her that it’s OK to not have a plan. However, I feel my lesson will only be effective if there’s an outcome and that outcome is happiness. I know I’m not the only person out there that feels like I do but it’s annoying as hell when you bump into someone you know who knows exactly what they want to do or has a strong passion (Ryan!) I still think it’s horribly wrong to expect an 18 year old to pick a major that will define a person’s life career. Instead of studying one specific topic, people should have the option to study and dabble in a little of everything until you find what fits best. Believe me, when I have my lightbulb moment, everyone will hear about it and it will be a long awaited joyous moment. . . . until I change my mind on the topic and we start this conversation all over again.