Thursday, October 19, 2006

Get off the wood and use it OR The “Someday Clause”

The first job I remember ever wanting was to be a ballerina. The second was a greeter at Wal-Mart. Then I wanted to be an actress, then a writer, then a journalist, then…PR?

I had a really great happy hour yesterday with a girl who I’ve been meaning to become friends with for a while. We mostly talked about our jobs, a couple “dreams” and she mentioned that she’d like to own a clothing boutique “someday.”

Ah, someday, I am quite familiar with that day. The truth is it’s fucking hard to chase your dreams. Really fucking hard. Of course if your dream is to be a doctor or lawyer, society looks much friendlier on that dream. Whereas, someone who wants to be an actor or maybe ice cream parlor owner, well, it gets more complicated. That’s why people like me resort to the “someday clause” where we talk about how our jobs are fine and “someday” we’d like to do X. This allays our cognitive dissonance just long enough to coast through another year. Large quantities of whiskey on the regular also helps, or so I’m told.

How would our lives be different if we were actually doing what we wanted? I’ve written several posts on the mid-mid life crisis, and my tune hasn’t changed much. So, to quote Dolly Parton from the silver screen classic Straight Talk, it’s time to “get down off the cross, honey, somebody needs the wood!”

I don’t know why I woke up today sounding like one of those “Excellence” or “Team Work” posters, but here it is: I think what Dolly is saying is that you can’t live your life for someday. That the more we trick ourselves into believing it's okay that we are spending the only thing we really have (time) with the wrong job, relationship, friend, place, etc, we are lying to ourselves with excuses. So listen to Dolly, it’s time to get off the wood and use it...he he…wood.

Okay, for listening to that, I now give you a funny happy hour moment and encourage you to come tonight and hear more of my existential rants plus mojitos:

As I was sipping my wine at Science Club last night, this guy walked up next to me and started talking to the bartender about a mutual guy they know.

Guy: I haven’t seen him in a while, what he up to these days?

Bartender: Oh, he’s about to leave to go study in Egypt.

Guy: Oh, that’s cool. Is he going to get an MBA there?

Bartender: (with a mix of confusion and pity) Um, no, he’s studying Middle Eastern history, I think.

Guy: Awesome.

10 Comments:

Blogger KassyK said...

My life has been a series of--I should be doing this or I should be doing that and I finally am doing something about it.

I should be a writer (started a blog and finally really working on my manuscript)...I should be a dancer (going to take Samba lessons) and I should be a singer (getting the courage to do open mic nights).

After almost a decade of letting things get in my way...I'm going for it all. And when debt is gone...I'm leaving the country.

Whoot whooot. See you tonight.

PS Those people with easily achievable dreams may be lucky in a societal sense but I think the ability to be creative and business saavvy are much more important skills as a human being.

Great post.

11:13 AM  
Blogger V said...

Good for you--just think WWDD!

11:19 AM  
Blogger Frankly, Scarlett said...

I'm with Kassy - Great post!

The thing is though, practicality dictates for most of us that we can't run off and join the cicus tomorrow, open an ice cream parlor or drop everything, move to NYC and join the rocketts (which is what I wanted to be as a kid).

So, I propose the following - baby steps. Want to open a business, start saving? Want to be a Rockette? start taking dance lessons?

Maybe most of us aren't in the position to 'get off the wood' yet - but we can at least start sanding it down.

11:22 AM  
Blogger V said...

Irish: Exactly! Because steps (big or baby) are what creates momentum and that's how you get to where you want to go.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

That's funny, I was in a Masters program for Middle East Studies at AUC (American University in Cairo) in 1998... you wouldn't think it but there are like 8 poker rooms in Egypt... Saudi's are soft and loose... man I should have stayed there! I hope we see you guys in Vegas... Brian (The Poker Atlas)

11:34 AM  
Blogger V said...

Hey Brian! That's pretty sweet that you got to play poker in Egypt--not many people can say that.

And, it looks all good for some fun times in Vegas--

11:39 AM  
Blogger Heather B. said...

I got lost after cognitive dissonance. Damn.

For awhile I was all 'should I or shouldn't I' then I realized that I'm still a 'baby' so really if I want to pack up my shit and move to Djibouti tomorrow, then I can. But maybe I'll just start off with packing up my shit and moving to Rosslyn, and we'll work from there.

12:47 PM  
Blogger mandy said...

Great post. :) There are a few things I've been putting off lately - either out of fear or timing or crazy dissillusionment. Either way...I'm getting off the wood. (and damn does it feel good)

thanks!

4:29 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

I think people are afraid to go after their dreams because what do you have left if you fail? If you're in a just-okay job right now, you at least have the hope that things will someday be great. Whereas if you fail at your dream, you no longer have that to hold on to. And what if your dream doesn't make you happy? Say I quit my job and sell a novel or get cast in a musical on Broadway and HATE it. What then?

I'm not advocating for these fears. I think trying for your dreams and failing is much better than never trying at all. Occasionally, when I start feeling like I'm wasting my life doing things that are just okay, Thoreau's Walden starts echoing in my head. Or at least the quotes from it that everyone knows. (I've never actually made it more than a few pages into it...)

8:40 AM  
Blogger Swamp Pundette said...

Someone on Craiglist really said it today in the Missed Connections I think...

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/mis/223216347.html


Great post!

12:17 PM  

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