How did I get here? To this moment in which I’m 46 years old, no savings or retirement, sitting on my couch that is in my mom’s living room, looking for a job and groaning as I write sincere cover letters, and it’s Monday. In the past year, I quit a stable job with the state, moved across the country for pretend love, spent nearly a year either unemployed or underemployed (hence the blown out savings), had the “talk” which ended the relationship, moved back across the country with nothing, found and quit a job that clouded my soul, and here I sit. Also, “Sisters” is on the television.
I reminisce on my time in Alabama, working on a graduate degree as a non-traditional student. I thought that because I was so good at being a corporate trainer for a cosmetic company, then surely I could take that experience and be even better as a college teacher. So I quit and became a fulltime student. I started with an AS in Geosciences and completed that just to avoid repeating any core credits I took in the 90s. Transferred to the university—thanks to not repeating any old classes—and earned a Bachelor of Science in Geography. God I loved those two years. I suffered with the old “imposter syndrome” terribly. Even now I don’t start things because I’m intimidated, but I have a lot of confidence so it doesn’t make sense. Because of that, I struggled to get applications to universities for a graduate degree. I wasn’t clear on what I wanted to study—yes I was, the topic didn’t exactly exist—so I had a hard time finding places to go and convincing them to accept me. I took a tour of a university in Alabama and members of the American Studies department were sold on my strange idea and welcomed me. With a rare fellowship no less!
In the 2 years I was in Alabama, I totaled my car on slick roads in the rain, I was in the worst tornado in recorded American history, and I broke my leg on a porch and still have the 6 screws in place. I worked hard and finished strong. I didn’t study what I originally planned, but my curiosity led to so many other topics. I didn’t continue with my plan to teach because 1) I didn’t want to be constantly stressed out any more and 2) I taught a class. The students I liked, the business behind the scenes—not so much. Oh my goodness, if I could just be a student forever I would be set.
I am hoping that I just had a bad luck year and it is over now. However, I consistently repeat circumstances that I create. How do I define my dream job (I think I just want to be paid to be someone’s aunt (that’s another story)), while I have no income and questionable opportunity around here? How do I address my security needs (benefits, retirement, rainy-day fund) while not getting trapped in a stable position that doesn’t tweak my curiosity and doesn’t make me feel like I’ve given up? All the while, having no idea what I want to do.
This is where I start; this is mine.