I have two very close friends in NY. One lives about a third of a mile from my mother. The other lives about two towns over. It is sometimes unclear how this really happened. Like East Marion, the town my mother is in, somehow attracted them. And it was really a good thing. When I go home, I really go home. I stay with Joe. I eat with Mary. I walk to my mother’s. My aunt lives even closer than Mary. I truly feel blessed when I am there. And I do not say that lightly.
My two friends, they, like me, have degrees in science. I can’t speak for them but I always wanted to be Jacques Cousteau (and I was for Halloween. It was great. I had a knit cap and that button down blue shirt. Clearly recognizable). But, after a while, and when your math is maybe not up to par, you realize that marine biology, while potentially satisfying in many ways, does not pay the bills. And I tried for a while. I worked in a lab. I worked for the state of New York. I applied for jobs in my field when I moved to Hawaii. That did not pan out for me.
My two friends, they like me, do not work in the field of science. One works in a bank doing stuff for loans. And the other works for a technology firm “offering clients and businesses of all sizes the most up-to-date hybrid IT technology solutions that solve today’s most complex business challenges” (taking that from the site seemed better than trying to explain it). But the bottom line is that, we do not work in our field of study. And me, well, let’s just say that I do policy, health care policy, the Affordable Care Act to be exact. And yes, I am allowed to call it Obamacare because we have been in relationship since the beginning.
We had this discussion while I was in NY, Mary and I. About how, technically speaking, we really have no skill set. There is no one word label to describe what we do. We are not firefighters or construction workers or lawyers or doctors. We just do stuff. We were discussing how we don’t feel really like we qualify to do much. Like if we had to write a resume, we would not know what to put on it. My mom asks what I do and it is hard to answer. I do what I am asked to do. I do what I need to do. Sometimes I do things because no one else is doing them. Just like Mary. Just like Joe. You get a job and you do it.
I think that for me, it was all my mother. I think because she got divorced and had never worked and could not support us, that for her, the most important thing was for me to able to stand on my own. And to do that, you had to do a good job and you had to show up and you did stuff that had to be done even if no one told you to. And all of that was added to a dash of common sense. And bit of brains. Those two things, my friends totally have. Way more than me.
And, these conversations and thoughts may just be based on that dreaded mid-life crisis time. The time in your life where you contemplate where you are, where you are going and realize that you (and the people you love) will not live forever. These are unfun thoughts. Disturbing thoughts even. But they make you wonder if you are doing the right thing. Living the right life. I think that these thoughts are natural. And although I am not going to run out and purchase a hot car and I am not going to ditch my family for some young buck, I am going to think more. Consider my place in life. Where I want to be. Where that might take me. Who knows, maybe I can really be something when I grow up.