“What do you want to do?”
this time last year, it seemed I was fielding this question quite a bit. (also last year this time, I was posting a new post everyday…my how things change)
The question was always delivered by well-meaning folks, usually because they loved me or were genuinely interested in my life, but it also almost always induced inner-panic and heart palpitations.
“What do you want to do?”
“Uhhhhhh…I’m not really sure…right now I just want to graduate.”
(and wear Mickey Ears/Graduation combo hats all day…)
(this was usually my response, most likely not at all what they were looking for…)
When you ask this question, you want to know what that person is interested in, or what career field they are thinking of going into. My dad’s advice was to just come up with some really obscure and prestigious job/goal like brain surgeon to use as my answer, but I never could seem to pull that one off.
“Well actually, I want to be a brain surgeon. Yes I know I majored in Spanish. That is irrelevant.” (see? totally unconvincing)
The worst was when people offered a different version of this question by first asking what I was studying only to follow-up with the diabolical…
“And what are you going to do with that? (“that” being sputtered out as if the word itself had actually tasted bad)
**Allow me to pause for a minute for a minor PSA stating that this question is the absolute best way to get the person you are asking to struggle to continue smiling sweetly while simultaneously giving you the evil eye. I don’t think I have to explain why.**
…Let’s not be rude people
All of this to say that the “what do you want to do question?” (or some variation of it) haunts just about every Jr-Sr. in both High School and College.
Your eyes literally start to glaze over as you try to deliver your response in the most un-robotic manner possible.
Fast forward 1 year, and all of a sudden nobody is really asking me that question anymore. For this, I am very pleased. I am no longer that burnt out college senior, or the discouraged job-searching grad. I’m an adult-job holding 20-something who cuts up a fair amount of credit card applications before throwing them into the trash.
Things have changed. Things have changed quite a bit, and quite rapidly.
I’m an authority figure for High Schoolers for crying out loud…last year this time I sometimes took 2 naps a day and only wore yoga pants. See what I mean?
Nobody really asks me that question anymore, and as I continue to settle into my first adult-job, I can see why. I am already doing something. There is no more need for the question. Again, in many ways, for this I am very pleased. But at the same time, I need this question in my life. Maybe it’s my liberal arts background nagging me, but I want to make sure I am constantly asking myself this.
Don’t get me wrong, it feels really good to get settled into a routine, to feel like you are accomplishing something. It’s important. But in college there were just so many avenues, so many different things to be learning about, so many options. Eventually, yes, you have to pick something and pursue it, but that doesn’t mean that has to be all you are.
I’m babbling about all of this tonight because I just want to make sure I never stop asking myself this question, that I never stop learning, growing, and evolving as a person. And I feel if I put it in writing it’ll be less likely to go by the wayside. (Although I routinely put things in writing that don’t come to fruition… i.e. the majority of my to-do lists, “How to do things you don’t want to do,” and committing to writing 3 blog posts a week.)
And because every blog-post is better with a list…
What do you want to do Mel?
-Learn more about racial inequality and learn how to actively work towards racial reconciliation in my community.
-Read and learn from all of the books on my GoodReads list
-Write a curriculum that brings Community Service, Sociology, and Jesus together for the High School classroom
-Learn more about the three things listed in the bullet above. (four if you count writing a curriculum)
-Learn more about Teaching in the realms of classroom management, connecting with my students, and making learning fun. (cliché alert)
-Go on a mission trip to a Spanish-Speaking country with my whole family. Danny included.
-Travel with Danny. (possibly live abroad together for 3-6 months after we’re married.)
-Become certified to teach ESL and build a relationship the Spanish-speaking community in Charleston
-Teach myself and those around me about loving other people and listening to/knowing their stories
-Maybe try my hand at something totally new in the way of hobbies…I’ve been told I might enjoy the theater…especially if reenacting Frozen is involved. (dramatic could possibly be my middle name)
-Learn more about adoption
-Unpack my thoughts on religion and Christianity into one cohesive blog post
-Continue to learn about selfless love and how to put it into practice as a selfish human being
-Become a better writer
Etc. is there to remind me that this list is ever changing and growing.
There are so many facets to all of us. Our society, the way it’s set-up, directs us very strongly towards choosing one thing to pursue and become an “expert” at. (And yes I did just end my sentence with a preposition…”become a better writer” is on my list ok?) But I love the fact that we can be so much more than just that one thing, and I never want to forget that as I get further away from college and all its options.
A person can have more than one passion. Yes? One mustn’t be boring.
So I leave you with this question…
(if you are a Jr.-Sr. in HS/College however, I suggest you just stop reading now, I don’t want to be responsible for giving you anxiety…)
What do you want to do? (today, tomorrow, eventually…)
I really want to know.