In therapy they ask you what you liked as a child; how you played. Me? I wrote poems. All the time. Sent them to grandparents for holidays. I drew pictures. Lots of them. I wrote and illustrated stories. I never wondered if I was good, I knew I was. More importantly I thought I was.
Why is that more important? There are plenty of people mediocre at what they do living their dreams. I mean seriously, have you ever seen a butt-ugly building? Some aspiring architect followed his or her dream all the way through school and got accredited to design that building. Some planner agreed to build it. Does it really matter that I don't like it?
I have a friend who is excellent at many skills, but has said to me proudly, with her chin raised high, "The thing I do best is sewing!" I am incredulous. I'm a lousy sewer, but I know what makes a good sewer. My mom, for one. This woman in question leaves loose ends and seams that unravel, is without question not a detail person. But does it matter? Sewing makes her feel happy.
So, the therapist, the career specialist would ferret out my dreams and urge me to be a writer, an artist, a poet. Then the recession hits me in the face. Taps me on the shoulder. "Um, Meg? Like, you know, you could have checked all this out when you were home with the kids in school, your husband earning six figures. Like maybe that would have been a better time to explore your artistic dreams? Could you now please crumple them in a ball and throw them in that energy-efficient fireplace insert? They would make better fuel."
When met with this challenge--explore your inner self or continue to take turns down unfullfilling paths with uncertain monetary gain I end up doing neither, frozen like that proverbial deer in the headlights. My husband does the opposite. He is driven with frenetic energy doing everything he can, staying up until midnight writing reports, scrounging to earn us extra income. Rushing out the door, forgetting his keys, his wallet, getting speeding tickets. Neither of us seem to be making any headway. Clearly he is right? Isn't he?