Every day, I leaf through the newspaper classifieds. It’s not that my soul is aching for a used but — “in good condition” — putrid-green couch and love seat with matching throw pillows. Rather, my curious mind simply likes to see what’s out there. I cry at the lost doggies and kitties. I laugh at what people have for sale. And then I get a faint glimmer in my eyes when I see all the want ads. There’s a million available jobs, or so it seems, all ripe for the taking. Open that gigantic newspaper and you could be anything — teacher’s aide, pizza delivery girl, mechanic, even a secretary. There’s an endless supply of jobs for a hard-working, go-getting, versatile gal like me…
Yes, it’s high time I suited up and got in touch with all the career dreams that have been haunting me since childhood like a ghost creeping through the night. For instance, I first got the itch to perform when I entered middle school. And it wasn’t the kind of itch that can easily be soothed with calamine lotion, either. This itch turned into a gnawing, which turned into night sweats, which turned into a fever, until I surrendered to the temptation and screamed, “I need to sing!” It’s to the point now where I sing all the time. In the shower. Folding laundry. When I’m sending e-mail. I even sing in my head. Half the time, I don’t even know I’m singing until my sister, in her bold and brazen voice, shouts, “Stop singing!” But the thing is, I can’t stop. For me, singing has become a release. I can’t get up and run a mile, but I can be free when I sing. And I feel like I walk with each note I utter.
Of course, I want to be realistic, and being a singer would allow me to diversify my talents. On the side of my Grammy-winning career, I could model the newest fall and spring fashions, complete with cute, matching handbags. My red hair pulled back with a specialty headband imported from Milan or Paris or wherever those Versaces and Dolce & Gabbanas live, I’d strut down the catwalk, my pretty smile matching my pink satin dress and sparkling sapphire earrings. My days of sporting dusty old sweatshirts and boring black shoes would be over, and I’d be a confident new woman with a new sense of high fashion. The editors of Vogue and Elle would look to me to set the trend and help us forget about last year’s pumps and oversized bracelets.
But maybe I should set my sights a bit lower. Short of reading the entire Oxford English Dictionary or rolling around in a pile of books, I could satisfy my love for words at a sort of word-lovers Mecca. It’s a mammoth building, towering above the skyline like the Bat Signal, and it’s the hippest place on Earth for us nerds, the wide-rimmed-glasses set whose secret weapon is a backpack full of books. The local university’s library has already become my safe haven, the place where I go to shut out the bustling world. I sometimes have dreams of sneaking behind the stacks right before closing and staying perched on the third floor all night. I could do wonderful things for that place if only they’d bestow upon me the awesome title of librarian, complete with a badge to show off my authority. Besides, librarying runs in the family. My aunt’s one, and she once told me about how excited she was to have a new box of fresh books to open. If only I could be inducted into that secret cult of Librarians United In Words, who spend their meetings in the library’s basement arguing over who will be the lucky one to shelve a pile of smooth, shiny books. I want to be thisclose to Mr. Dewey Decimal.
Natural nursing home social director
Or there’s a career with the over-65 set. I began my love affair with the elderly when I joined the Grandparent’s Club in middle school. Each week, we little children ventured to the nursing home. It had long halls and dim lights, but strangely, I was not afraid. The elderly and I, we have a bond like this (picture me clasping my hands together in a show of solidarity). We both eat early lunches — mine’s usually at 11:20 a.m. on the dot. We love a good juice drink. And we both snuggle into bed before 9 p.m. Maybe that means my calling lies in being a social director for a retirement home – a live-in social director, of course. I can picture it now: A group of four white-haired, elegantly dressed women and me sitting around a table, nursing a bottle of apple juice and playing a mean game of bridge.
I’ve come to treasure that daily rendezvous with the classified ads. It’s almost like being a child, when every day you want to be something different when you grow up. Maybe that’s the beauty of being young. You can be anything. You can do anything. I may be all grown up, but I still have dreams. I’m slowly learning that you never have to give up your dreams. You may get older, but your dreams can live on forever. Your relationship with them may just be the most satisfying relationship you will ever have, so hold onto them. No matter where reality takes you, your dreams will always be right behind.
[Photos via We Heart It]