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(un) Prepared

Bascially my whole life I have been preparing for this moment. This piece of time when something is going to happen ... it will be a turn for the real world ... a whole new stage. I have been preparing for my job.

I know this sounds silly, but realistically, it's true. Elementary prepares for middle, middle for high, and high school for college. College is certainly prep for a job, but if you are too scared, or too unprepared at that point there is always grad school. I was so burnt out preparing for this moment before grad school I had to take a break and get a temporary job!

Now, as grad school wraps itself up, I have finally arrived. The job market is out there. My future job is waiting. And all of a sudden 18 years of school and a year teaching overseas doesn't seem like enough.

People keep saying that it doesn't matter too much what I choose because my first job is not likely to be my last. I understand that, I do. But at the same time, my degree leaves the field of possibilities wide open. The step I take with this first "real" job, is going to make a serious impact on the direction the rest of my life takes.

Campaign politics means at least a year of no sleep, working like a mad person, hopefully traveling, possibly moving up, and eventually burning out or falling in love (with politics, that is).

Science communication means a regular job in a regular place. Stability, room to move up, a training program to prepare me for my work Benefits like healthcare and a dental plan. Enough money to finally start saving something and pay off my student loans.

Civil service means dealing with bureaucracy everyday but likely getting to travel, having serious job security, learning new things everyday, supporting the country I love so much, and potentially making a huge impact on American (maybe international?) society.

I know I could do all of these things. I could try one or the other and float about every five or so years. They say.

But the thing about me, is that I fall in love with things. I really do. I do them for a little while, see what is good, what isn't, and then try to fix the problem areas so whatever it is can be perfect. Ultimately, I have been forced to move on because of graduation or time restrictions (specifically why I chose a one-year commitment in France!). I have only willingly left one job in my entire life and realistically, I left because my family moved and the new location wasn't at all like the job I left.

So, knowing myself, when I make this choice, I am going to be giving myself to a career path for as long as I can handle it. For as long as it can handle me. For an exceptionally long time. And I might never get a chance to try another one. Because once I start in on something, I feel terrible if I abandon it. Giving up is not for me. I am not a quitter.

Whatever I choose, it will lead me in a direction I never thought I could/would go. The future is so hazy ... the path to what and who I will be is still being paved.

On the swings in the park today, T and I were talking about how drama in high school seemed so important. We thought that that was the time in our lives that would shape everything else. It was all so important, so serious. Now looking back, I think what silliness that was. The drama wasn't horrendous, the Earth did not shatter, we survived the transition from high school to the next part of our lives.

So on the swings we decided that now is actually the place where the decisions we make will change our whole future beings. This is the pivotal point. That place where everyone goes back to in movies to fix the "big mistake" they made.

Whatever I choose, I am sure of this ... it will not be a mistake.

It seems crazy to me now that I thought my decisions 6 or 7 years ago could be so influential in my life today. In fact, they have helped shape me, but they didn't "define" me. I've become a different person than I was then. Perhaps still naive enough to think that finally now I have come to a place that will shape who I am to become.

Maybe that place doesn't actually exist, maybe we slowly evolve into ourselves. Sure, there are inciting events and culminating events and open and close chapters, but all-in-all, every choice we make is a self-definition.

I like the idea that everyday we can redefine ourselves, add to the palette of colors on a dot-painting of enormous expanse. Sure, there are occassional blots - where you spill the paint and make a mess, perhaps covering up something that was just getting good. Maybe it takes lots of decisions, hundreds of dots to fix the blot, but it is possible.

So tomorrow I am going to get up and make decisions. What to have for breakfast. How much homework to get done. Where to put the piles of junk on my desk. How to clean up the giant spider I Raid-ed to death in my bathroom tonight. Who to hang out with. Who to forgive. What to forget. When to return those pants I bought that turned out to be too short. Whether or not to send my resume to the potential jobs I have saved in the 20+ open tabs in my browser.

Whatever decisions I make will paint the picture for tomorrow, building on today and creating a foundation for tomorrow. I'm planning on a colorful life. My brushes are ready.

I am prepared.

Love always, ~Heather