Aspirations, Coffee, & Realization.

An Essay By Madeline // 6/3/2013

Have you ever set out to do something and then realized it was completely wrong for you?

I'm at the point in my life where I feel the change. A gradual shift; one that means growing up and maturing--making my own money. Driving a car, which I'm in no great hurry to do.

But I did think I was ready for a job. I had my first interview a couple days ago, and it went well. I told them I wanted to work there because I loved the atmosphere. I was in my element. That would translate well to my work.

And then I got home. I was sitting on my back porch steps, finishing up a book. My mom was talking on the phone when I felt the uneasiness start. Because ohmygosh I had just interviewed for a job I'll would most likely be offered.

And I'm not ready.

I thought I was. I really did. I pictured smiling mornings and busy work and paychecks and ordering really cute clothes. I pictured buying a car and saving up for college and having extra money whenever I wanted it.

But then, sitting there, I thought--

How much time am I going to miss reading? Am I going to get the time to volunteer at the animal shelter with my friend? What about writing? What about doing what I want to do, whenever I please?

What about living my life?

Let me back up...

Two weeks ago, after asking about a job at a favorite coffee shop of ours, I got into the car with my mom. We were also headed to the library, where I was thinking about filling out a volunteer application.

"I don't know," I told her after I had. "I think I'd have more fun at the coffee shop than I would at the library."

"I don't know..." My mom replied. She knows me. But she also encourages me in anything and everything I want to do, so it was up to me.

Then mom got an email from a friend at the library we know very well. I could come any time in to volunteer. Mom told her to call me.

I was kind of hoping she wouldn't. I didn't think I wanted to volunteer. But eventually she did, and I got excited about it. Sure, I wasn't chomping at the bit, but it was going to be good to try.

I ended up there last Thursday, in the YA section, shelving books. Pulling duplicates. Going over them with her. Scanning them into the computer. It was two and a half hours of "work." And I loved it.

I recounted my tales in emails to my friends. The job developments, and the volunteering. I didn't see it at the time, but the paragraphs I wrote about the library were ten times the size of the one about the job. I didn't have much information, but still.

That was my second clue. But I didn't see. I overlooked it.

Then I got a call Friday. To come in for an interview. Horray! My first one! I was excited. I told my friends, of course. IMed Kassady right away.

Earlier that day, I'd told the lady at the library I would email her. I'd like to come in again next week. I also asked one of my friends if she'd be interested in volunteering at the animal shelter with me. She said yes.

So I had these volunteer opportunities. And I had a job interview.

It came and went well. Then the moment on the back porch, one of intense, tears-in-my-eyes panic. After discussing it with my mom, I felt better. I didn't have to take it, of course. I had options.

I realized, standing out there with her, the sun shining down cheerful as ever--the library is my element. I was blind to it. And writing this--looking back at the signs--it only reaffirms it.

Why are we as people so stubborn to what we really want? Do we know, internally? I thought I did. I don't. I don't know. Perhaps I'm going to have to repeat this process with every job I go after from now on. I hope not. But then again, if it eventually leads me to what's right, who am I to complain?

If I'm offered the job, I'm going to turn it down. Thank her for her time.

Then I'm going to email our friend from the library. (Probably before then, to be honest). I'm going to go back in this week. And the next. Probably after that, too.

My place is among books and people who love them as much as I do. I've practically, as I told our library friend, been living in the YA section for the past year.

Sure--coffee is any writer's #1 drug--but then again, aren't they usually buying it and not serving it?

Comments

I totally sympathize...

I totally sympathize.

In fact, I have an awful, half-finished essay somewhere about growing up that I tried to write a few weeks ago in a burst of feels. But anyhow. This is so honest and well-written. And I think that it really touches on the whole growing-up conundrum.

I really liked how you saw that, looking back, the library was really what gave you joy. And that you looked in your heart, and and followed it. Oh, and the last sentance was pretty much amazing.

But I also wanted to say how much I needed this. As I reach the final stretch of high school, I feel this need to be an adult. But as I get older, I just feel more inadequate. But the thing is, I think I was associating sophistication, or the version of it put on by too many people I see, with maturity. But really, being above swingsets and coloring books and singing really loudly and stuffed animals isn't maturity. I think. And just because I happen to like those things, I'm not less mature than others. (I think. At least, I hope so.) And in time, I will get a job. I will graduate next Spring, and I will move out. And I hope that I will not lose my love of all those things. I hope that I will grow up without losing me.

Thank you for helping me to realize this; I loved your writing as always. :)

little woman | Wed, 06/05/2013

The most astonishing thing about miracles is that they happen.
-G. K. Chesterton

I also sympathize! I got a

I also sympathize! I got a job, and you definitely lose a lot of time. Luckily, my managers are flexible and I've been able to fit my work schedule around my life. Good for you for choosing what you wanted to do.

Erin | Wed, 06/05/2013

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

Thank you, girls! little

Thank you, girls!

little woman--Thank you so much! And also for sharing your feelings on the subject with me as well. :) As for swingsets and coloring and stuffed animals and singing really loudly--I'm with you! (ESPECIALLY that last one. But I have my own "childish" things I still enjoy, too) I mean, I'd still happily play with dolls, odd/alarming as that sounds. But if you think about it, creating a story with in-your-hands objects isn't really that different from writing. So I guess that's what happened with me. Love of playing with dolls transitioned over into telling stories, the more 'adult' way to do it. ;)

Yeah. I've just always been go-go-go when I was younger. I was kind of a take-charge, look ahead kind of person. But I've found myself not wanting to as much. I'm no longer wanting to start college classes my sophomore year, and I don't know if I'll want to graduate early, like I thought I did. And I guess now I have no idea where I'm going to get a job. (Hopefully the library, next year. *fingers crossed*)

So, as you can see, I really, really agree with you. And it's great to find other people who aren't so ready to completely grow up, either. :))

You NEED to publish that essay! Or go back to it when you're feeling spirited enough; whatever. Because just your comment alone was essay worthy!

(Oh...and Monthly Writer?? Did you ever submit your application?)

Sorry for the long comment! Now, Erin:

Thank you as well! That's definitely what I was afraid of, but it's good to hear that you have the opportunity to balance that with other aspects of your life. :D So thank you for that, and also thank you for sharing!

You girls are awesome!!!

Madeline | Thu, 06/06/2013

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way

I always made up stories with

I always made up stories with my Barbies. It would drive my sister crazy, because she just liked to watch, but they would only talk in my head, so she missed out on half the story. :)

Maybe I will go back to that essay...I quit because it stopped being meaningful and started to sound petulant. Maybe I'll just start from scratch.

I definitely think my comment was LONG enough to be an essay lol.

And yeah, I did submit my application, but it was right before all the technical issues came up, so I haven't heard back yet. Fingers crossed!

little woman | Thu, 06/06/2013

The most astonishing thing about miracles is that they happen.
-G. K. Chesterton

Mmm

It's interesting reading this point of your view, and putting it together with the atmosphere of the place. My mom actually told me (after I told her that you didn't want the job) that she saw the workers there always... uptight, and always gossiping about each other. So realizing that, is definitely good, because being in that kind of environment is not just stressful, but unhealthy.
I agree, I've been thinking a lot lately of how much I DON'T want to grow up... but strange as it is, I don't have to worry about it. It's a gradual process, that is hard to even pinpoint happening, it's amazing how much my perspective can change in just a month. I agree that you should take it slow and that you should enjoy being a kid while you can... but I also think that if you don't try new things you'll never grow at all. Like you and the library, if you hadn't tried it, you would never have realized that you loved it.
I think going outside of your comfort-zone is important, not like going bungee jumping or anything, but the little things. Like volunteering for something you've never tried. Exploring new ideas.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't grow up too quickly... but still grow up. It's important to go with the flow of life, you can't stay a kid forever, and you can't be an adult ahead of time either... haha, I feel an essay coming on ;)
I'm glad you realized what you wanted. I'm really happy and excited for/with you! I can't wait to see what new opportunities present themselves to you. Just remember to be open, and to sing out loud, a play with dolls, and giggle while drinking Bubble Tea ;)
Love ya SSS!
Good essay, very well written!

Kassady | Thu, 06/06/2013

"Here's looking at you, Kid"
---
Write On!

LOL! Definitely don't still

LOL! Definitely don't still play with dolls. I have outgrown that--it's just the idea of creating stories that appeals to me. Hehe. ;)) Thank you!

The gossiping people are probably the ones that quit, I'm guessing. haha! A bunch have recently.

She has a really good staff right now--really nice people. Just the idea didn't appeal to me, when I thought it would. The hours, which would have been too much. :P And the vibe, like I said--it was a little off. But the girl behind the counter was super friendly. :))))

Yeah. :) And by not growing up, it's basically my way of saying don't rush things, you know?

Thanks for your comment!!!!
-Homey :)

Madeline | Thu, 06/06/2013

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way

I can relate to this.

Homey, I so know how you felt. When I was turned 13, (not that long ago, but man I feel older) I really wanted to get a job. Not because I wanted the money, or needed it, but because I wanted to grow up. I wanted to be so much older than what I was. Anyway, I couldn't get a job till I'm fourteen and nine months. So, that took awhile. The feeling of wanting to grow up passed. After my 14th, I had some hard problems, difficult decisions and felt like I never wanted to grow up. It's too hard.

Now, I'm 14 and nine months. I decided, with a lot of thought, that I'd like to get a job. Not because I wanted to grow up and do what my older friends were doing, but because I needed money. Not desperately, or needed it to survive, but you know. That extra cash you can go shopping with, pay your phone bills, that kinda stuff.
I wanted to volunteer out at a chemist so that they'd know me before I applied, hence increasing my chances of getting accepted. Apparently, both chemists didn't want "extra help". Now I'm feeling like it's going to be hard to find a job. And it will be. But I'll persevere. And follow my heart. And listen to God. And maybe just get a job!
Anyways, sorry for the LONG comment, and I'm really proud that you took the guts and did what your heart wanted. :)

Maddi | Fri, 08/02/2013

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh

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