walking on my hands
My mom left today. After driving me down and helping me to settle (as much as anyone could help me settle) into my new apartment in San Francisco. It is as much and as little as anyone could hope for. As she left she told me that she’s jealous of this new location, this new life. That seems to be a common sentiment. Adults sigh and get that faraway look. They seem genuinely enthusiastic, and yet I wonder if they would trade me for it. To be just graduated from college again, and once more to be thrust into the world without a clue.
College was great, and I learned a lot, but one thing they don’t teach you is how abstract real life is. Talking about what you’re going to do when you grow up is sure great until you’re standing on a street corner in a strange city charged with finding a job. At this point the different between the former and the latter becomes the difference between flying in a plane and jumping out of one. There is no basis for comparison.
The other day my friend Liz called me and told me how her first job was not turning out to be what she had imagined. She was in shock. I was in vicarious shock. She had been working for two weeks and already we were discussing, in hushed tones, whether she had chosen the right field. Whether she should be perhaps helping children instead of trying to place airplane advertisements in travel magazines. She joked that she should just become a CEO so she could supervise more and work less. We laughed at this, but it was the kind of terrified laugh that death row inmates must have when the joke about the electric chair. We realized at that moment that becoming a CEO was about as likely as finding out that Sarah Palin was not certifiable. Welcome to the wide world of work. Liz lamented having ever complained about schoolwork. I lamented having ever moved out of my parents’ house. We sighed and said our goodbyes.
When I told this story to my mom she laughed, and said I should stop saying things about “my life” and start to think of time in more realistic increments such as the next five minutes. She reminded me that life was long, and then hedged that statement by adding that it was also short. This helps if you don’t try to think to deeply about either statement.