Tuesday, September 6, 2011

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.

I once had a paper due on The Wasteland.  We were given a choice of three topics, and I chose one. Nooooo problem, I said.  I love Eliot, I said.  I know The Wasteland like the back of my hand, I said.  This topic is easy, I said.  It'll be done in an hour, I said.

Then Jose asked me what new angle my paper was going to cover.

I froze.

 Before he asked me, I wasn't concerned.  The paper would get done on Sunday night, no problem.  (And by Sunday, I mean Monday about 5 minutes before the English Department closed.  I was queen of the 4:59 pm sprint across campus.)  But now, I was worried.  So I hiked over to the library on a Friday night and then proceeded to spend the entire weekend in the library reading critical essays on sexuality and rape in Eliot's work, all about the Grail myth.

Putting aside what this says about my general personality, I think we can all agree that focus is not really my strongest trait. 

But I digress.

Which is kinda the point.  

I started this blog last week, and on the same day my friend Dane im'd me and told me that 1) he had moved to Qatar and 2) he had started a blog.

Wonderful, so I'm sitting here wondering what to write next and Dane is living in the Middle East, teaching creative writing while writing a blog about a city that still has its new car smell.  I lose.

The truth is, my real envy isn't the focus of his blog. I don't want to leave DC right now-- I love the new apartment, and there's no other city in the country that has so many jobs that I would be interested in doing.   The people at my own job treat me extremely well, and all my clients are sincerely good people. 

But man....to be living abroad right now, constantly doing new things, or to be doing old things in an entirely new way....that I envy. 

But there's more. 

Even more more than my wanderlust, I envy anyone who knows exactly what she want to do with her life and is taking those steps.  I once told someone that I visualize my life most clearly in four year increments, which is I suppose the curse of doing fairly well in high school and college without, as I pointed out before, a real focus as to why you're doing it (aside from the obvious educational benefits).  In high school and college, your goal can really be to graduate (well) from high school or college.  But now we're all out here, swimming around in this huge sea, and not really sure which direction we want to go in.  And the worst part is, for some of us at least, that there are so many things we'd like to do, but it seems like taking a step in that direction necessarily cuts us off from those other pathways.

Maybe those aren't the real choices.  Maybe it's not all one or the other.  Maybe you can do both, either at the same time or in sequence.  Or maybe after you take that step you realize you wouldn't want to do the other one anyway. I guess we're all just figuring it out as we go along.

But in the meantime, check out Dane's blog:
It's Pronounced Qatar

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