Monday, August 15, 2011

Suit up and show up

I don’t have a purpose to this blog. I’m not intending to change the world, but I’m not looking for pity either. 

Since graduation last fall I have gradually become more uncomfortable in my own skin, feeling less certain of what I want to accomplish in life than I did in junior high school.  I recall writing a paper in eighth grade for my honors English class about my aspirations post high school. (Typical junior high curriculum for cookie-cutter suburbia, forcing 12 and 13 year-olds to write an essay about a part of life that was four to five years away.) I wrote about law school, NYU and helping animals. My teacher picked me to read my paper out loud to the class. While I’m thankful for my supportive family and teachers, it wasn’t until much later in high school that I realized I wasn’t going to be a New York City lawyer with six kids. I had good grades, a decent SAT score and more extracurricular activities than should be permitted. However, that wasn’t good enough. That was a feeling that soon became very familiar to me.

Now eight and a half years after writing that paper I’m actually very happy not to be pursuing law school, or six children for that matter. My freedom means more to me than just about anything else. However, these are difficult times. While I’m not going to rant about the impossibility of finding a job, it is a frustrating time and age for my generation. We can’t take on non-paid internships because they are only offered to enrolled students, but we are forced to interview for entry-level positions that others, sometimes twice are age, are in line for. And, it pays crap.

I used to dream about owning two houses, one on the beach, and one in the city. I used to dream about having more than parents did and, in turn, giving more to my family. Why does that seem so impossible now?

I read an unassuming article by Editorial Director, Jay Heinrichs, addressed to the readers, in, of all magazines, “Spirit” – the Southwest Airline’s social zine. I have to say, it forced me to eat a titanic piece of humble pie.  It is a charming article that compares the “complex” time of college, and the simplicity of mom and her home cooking. Jay chews on the  “tragic dichotomy of reality” and the symbolism (or perhaps lack there of) of mom’s voice of reason – “ apple pie” and “nap.” 

I’m confident that others in my generation feel similar to me – lost and ambitious in an America where there is an African American president, Osama bin Laden is dead, TV shows like “The Kardashian’s” reign supreme and Apple electronics are more common household items than fruits and vegetables. However, it is truly comforting to know, that to this day, something as simple as mom and her home cooking can knock us off our high horse.  Instead of feeling like a successful future is impossible, take a bite of humble pie then “suit up and show up,” as my mother would say.

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