The Fabulous Familiar

Taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary...

Friday, October 1, 2010

The In-Between

When I write about the in-between, I am not referring to the creepy after-death, before eternity state of being depicted in science fiction movies. I am talking about the stage of life that many of us post-grads find ourselves in at this very moment. No one ever tells you about this time of your life. When you're a little child, people ask you what you want to be when you grow up. You usually take another lick of your icecream, smile really big with your two front teeth missing and exclaim, "I'm going to be a doctor/nurse/baseball player/dolphin trainer/fireman." Fill in the blank with your particular preference.

And for most of your young life you naively believe that this is how life works. You survive high school, go to college, become a {insert your preference here}, get married, have a family, etc. There is no question that these events happen smoothly in sequential order.

Then, in your mid-twenties, you find yourself stuck in what I like to call "the in-between."

This is when people stop asking you what you want to be when you grow up and begin to question when you are in fact going to get there. At least when you were in high school, you could tell fellow church members that you were well on your way to becoming a nuclear physicist. Most people don't know what one is (little do they know, neither do you) so they won't further question your ambitions. They will simply smile, nod their head and say, "That's great, honey. I wish you the best."

After your degree is obtained and hunting for a job becomes a losing battle, you begin to wonder how to answer people's questions. I somehow find myself defending my life goals, almost in one breath as to avoid interruption. "So, what are you doing now?" someone might ask after a considerable absence from my life. This is the same person that I told years ago that I was a budding journalist, aiming my sights high.

This is when professional in-betweeners like myself begin to shine. Rather than release the fact that you are in fact a glorified errand runner who gets coffee and checks the mail, you begin to talk about how you assist your boss in current projective goals. Your night job suddenly becomes a business experience rather than an exchange: answering phone calls and scanning for a month of electric and the luxury of taking a shower. I have started wearing business attire to work with power heels so that I can walk around Kroger during my lunch break like I own a bank or something. As the lady runs my milk, eggs and cereal across the checkout scanner, I whip out my debit card with the air of someone who has several zeros after the 1 in her bank account. Little does employee Rose know, I in fact wrote one freelance article so that I could buy the gallon jug instead of the half-gallon this week.

A friend and I were comparing notes on this topic and came to the conclusion that we never pictured this phase of our life; no one ever asks you, "What are you going to do in the meantime of your life?" It's like we skip over it automatically. It's like we thought you could go up to the counter and say, "Oh, I would like to be a doctor, please" without actually considering entrance exams and the notion that not everyone is going to love you as much as your mama, grandma and Aunt Sue. That's the frustrating thing about job applications and interviews. There's no way that a one-page summary is going to present you in your fullest form.

You've gone your whole life being told to follow your dreams, that you're talented and bright and the future has no boundaries. You read each rejection e-mail with tears forming on the brim of your eyelids and you think to yourself, "If they knew me. If they really, truly knew me." I want to tell them that I was Homecoming Queen in 6th grade. That I've managed to never break a bone and I eat gummy worms when I need to stay alert. I am a loving friend, family member and can recount an embarrassing story like you've never seen. But instead of a real peering into my soul, they see in boring Times New Roman font that I was in 5 honor societies and had a good GPA.

My new motto for the "meantime" comes from the movie, "Post Grad," which is the theatrical form of my life and what I am talking about in this entry. One of the characters tells the main girl, "What you do with your life is just one-half of the equation; more importantly it's who you're with when you're doing it." The Lord has blessed me beyond measure during this time in my life with wonderful new people, experiences and life lessons.

Though there is always a part of me that is slightly ashamed and discouraged when watching others around me make their dreams come true, I know that dreams come in many forms. I may not be a powerful business woman or journalist yet, but I have gotten to tell the touching stories of Searcy citizens; I may not have a fancy apartment, but I have had the chance to live with some amazing friends and make great memories. I may not be totally suited for several part-time, temporary jobs, but I have gotten to befriend some great people I never would have known otherwise.

Sometimes, friends, the beauty is in the meantime. the meantime, enjoy it.


Blogger HannahKey said...

All I gots to say is "Amen" to your last 2 lines. My friend Sarah (the one with cancer) keeps reminding me almost daily to live in the moment because the moment is truly all you KNOW that you have. Such words of wisdom, and yet I can't seem to wrap my mind around it. What about my midterm on Wednesday? What about where Scott and I are going to live next year? None of these are guaranteed.

Live it, honey. Enjoy each and every breath of your day.

Love you.


October 2, 2010 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger Daddio said...

Nice thoughts, Ash. Yep,we have to enjoy those meantimes--they can pop up anytime and we don't ever know for sure when or how they'll leave.

October 2, 2010 at 12:07 PM  

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