Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Don't Panic

I've had to answer this question so many times: What comes next? What degree are you going for? What are you going to do with it? I thought by enrolling in university I would appease all those well-meaning doom-sayers that would leave a few too many seconds of silence after my answer of "I don't know". Apparently, they are not satisfied yet. I wish I could tell them all that I am not worried about what I am going to do. I wish I could stop them when I recognize the look of doubt, and tell them that no matter what happens to me, I am sure it cannot stray far from what I am built for. My life will always be consonant with what my capacities and my needs. I do not distrust my nature and my strength so much that I would compromise certain things, on any path that I choose. So stop making those faces! Stop asking me to scramble for the most possible future. I am not worried, do you really care enough that you are? What have you invested in my life more than I have? Or does the answer of "I don't know" just leave you without a socially prescribed response. If I said something you recognized: "Social Worker, Journalist, Teacher, Mother of 5", you would be able to say "Oh, my cousin did that at UBC and is now the happiest individual in the western hemisphere, according to Newsweek". Well, I'm not going to feel anxious about the future so you can have an easier time conversing with me. I know that those conversation are like games of Jenga... we take turns to make legal moves, removing and dealing with the normal questions and comments by saying them. The person who makes the comment that crumbles the tower loses, there is a moment of silence, a smile, and we turn to the person on our other side and start again. Block of wood #1: "Hi!" #2:"I know you from that wedding 5 years ago" #3:"What are you up to these days!" #4:"Oh yeah, what's next?". Let me just crumble the tower before you get too into it: I don't know, ok? And I don't care to know. So deal with it.


Timothy or Lillian said...

Yeah, i get that kind of question too and look at me...I'm 50! I have asked it of others and i expect you probably have too, even at your young age. Most people just are looking for something to keep a conversation going and some of those are doing it because they do care somewhat. But it does get tiring answering.
love Dad

Anonymous said...

just to keep a conversation going?, como dije anteriormente, encuentro este engaño que no siempre hay respuesta como lo dicen algunos "cristianos" a alta voz.

Anonymous said...

I've been waiting for them to grant degrees in "Mother of Five-ing" at UBC. It's about darn time.

Anonymous said...

solo pregungaba sie s verdad que algunos solo preguntan para mantener un conversacion, pero veoq ue sie s verdad, estoy de acuerdo contigo,no siempre queremos que nos preguntes cosas asi, porque no siempre hay repsuestas.

Janna said...

i understand your plight. i remember that question. now i get the favorite, "how long will you be in Ecuador" question, or of course the timeless, "when are you going to get married?!" :)
as more time goes by I find it more and more entertaining giving the "i don't know" somehow makes people feel uncomfortable. very few people like a-day-at-a-time living these days. i'm getting fond of it myself.
oh yeah, and then for other annoying questions (the order of which remarkable consistent) ...
"¿usted no es de aqui?" no
"¿de dónde es usted?" Canadá
"¿usted vive aqui con su esposo?" no
"¿usted es soltera?" genius. :) ha ha

Kent said...

For 33 years I had a quick easy answer: I am an engineer (or manager) at HP. When I retired in May, lots of caring, friendly folks seemed to go suddenly awkward when I said that I did know what I was going to do next. I honestly don't know how awkward they actually felt. Maybe it was often my own awkwardness.


katie said...

yeah, what I do is work with people's expectations. Example:
"Hey, so you're studying right? What are you taking?"
"I'm doing a degree in Psychology"
"Oh, wow. I knew someone who did Psychology and then became a (insert conversation partner's acquaintance's profession here). And she/he (insert description of profession's duties here)."
"Oh, yeah! Something like that sounds really cool."
If all goes well, the other person will be left thinking that that's what you're going to do, also, without you actually having to come up with a future for yourself. Also, it keeps them doing most of the talking, instead of you.
It's wonderful the variety of futures I've come up with because of the help of others. One third of my coworkers are under the impression that I'm going to be an animal Psychologist, another third that I'm going to do rehabilitation, and the last third that I'm going to climb to the lofty position of line cook some day.

heidi said...
watch the last third of this video. i love you and i mean it. but my love doesn't matter. you are good.