Category Archives: someday I’m going to figure out what I want to be when I grow up

I promised

The hub and I, whilst walking the dogs, have a conversation about careers and what we wanted to do when we grew up.

Me: I should have become a psychologist. I’d still really like to do that.
Him: Oh yeah, you’d probably be really good at that, because crazy people understand other …
Me: …
Him: …
Me: I’m so posting this on Facebook.
Him: No, please don’t.

OK honey.

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chim-chim-in-ey

This is probably not the kind of thing I should admit publicly, so it will fit right in on my blog. But in times of excessive stress, I find great comfort in listening to Disney songs. I’m not sure how I made this discovery or exactly how I came to have parts of Classic Disney 1, 2 and 3 in my iTunes library, but listening to some of these songs – “Under the Sea,” “Be Our Guest,” and oddly, the song from the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room, as well as the Electric Light Parade music, go a long way toward bringing me closer back to my happy place. Maybe it’s the connection to the Happiest Place on Earth – even though I’ve never felt that draw to Disney the way some others do. But it is a place of sort-of escapism (except for the maddening press of humanity that surrounds you when you’re there).

The song that makes me happiest, though, is “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from Mary Poppins. I listen to that song and I want to be a chimney sweep in London. Which is just ridiculous because are there even chimney sweeps anymore? It can’t be a viable profession, really, and if it exists, it’s certainly not a safe one, although I’m sure there are just pages of OSHA regulations for cleaning chimneys. But Dick Van Dyke sounds so damn HAPPY with his job.

Now, as the ladder of life ‘as been strung
You might think a sweep’s on the bottommost rung
Though I spends me time in the ashes and smoke
In this ‘ole wide world there’s no ‘appier bloke

I want to feel that way. He makes it sound so romantic, so free.

Up where the smoke is all billered and curled
‘Tween pavement and stars is the chimney sweep world
When there’s ‘ardly no day nor ‘ardly no night
There’s things ‘alf in shadow and ‘alfway in light
On the rooftops of London coo, what a sight!

Pure escapism, I know. I just want to get away, to run and hide and be somewhere magical. Perhaps the most logical choice would be a beach somewhere, or a cruise ship, or some sort of vacation spot that is not the roof of a house in the middle of a city; a roof containing a chimney that I am responsible for cleaning soot and probably bird shit out of. But there you go. That’s the magic of Disney, making it sound like it’s the best place in the world to escape your troubles. And when I’m wide awake at 5 a.m., having once again used wine and food as a band-aid, with the typical lack of success, I feel like any alternatives have to be better – even ones that involve brooms and brushes and soot. If I could just stand on a rooftop and get away from it all, I’d be one happy bloke.

overstimulated

The problem with trying to come up with a plan and then stick to it is all the distractions. This multisensory world we live in, with its televisions and internets and phones, and tweets and likes and posts and feeds … it’s a lot. Particularly for someone like me, who was distracted by three network channels, a VCR and a couple of  Tiger Beat magazines.

So whenever I start trying to figure out a career path, all that stimuli veers me off the path pretty quickly. Like, I start searching for “writing prompts” and all of a sudden I find myself with 10 different windows open, reading book reviews, message boards and blogs that are three links removed from the original search result and are on a topic that had nothing to do with my original search.

Also, I then get hung up on the idea that I have to DO all of these things. All at once. NOW! Which gets me so overwhelmed that I slam the computer shut and go back to surfing 200 channels of nothingness while reading a novel and calculating my 401k contributions for the year in my head.

It’s no wonder I get headaches.

So my new plan is to focus on one thing. Like, just now when I logged into post this blog, I saw one of those new announcements from WordPress about a new feature where you can integrate your Tweets into your posts, which got me all freaked out again about how I really should be on Twitter because Facebook is fine but it’s really shouldn’t be my primary outlet for my short random thoughts (as opposed to my long random thoughts, which is this blog, but shouldn’t I be tying the two together in an integrated marketing strategy, but then what name do I use and who would follow me and who do I want to follow me and do I want those people to read this blog and of course I do but I need to be careful about who on Facebook can read it so AAAAAH! Slam! goes the laptop lid.)

But I didn’t let that happen. I calmly and rationally said, self, we are just going to move past this and we are going to write a blog post, which is what we set out to do. It’s OK if we just do that one thing. Everything else can come later. And I did it. Isn’t that fabulously sane and rational, except for the part where I’m talking to myself?

So that’s the path I’m going to take with everything. I’m not going to let myself feel so overwhelmed or guilty about not doing everything that I end up doing nothing. I’m going to choose just one thing at a time and do it, thoroughly. So I downloaded one book – actually one sample of a book – to my Nook. I’m going to read that sample, and if I like it I’m going to buy that one book (instead of the two or three I’d normally buy at once and then read none of them). Once I finish it, I will then choose a next step, whether it’s to buy another book, or open a Twitter account or something else.

I’m so serious about this that tonight I actually watched a movie without reading or being on the computer at the same time. And when it was over, the computer was still there, plus my husband didn’t have to explain the plot to me.

Oh, the new me is going to be so aware and focused it’s scary. Imagine what I’ll be able to achieve when I actually pay attention to stuff. I will be unfreakingtoppable. Look out world, here I  …. oooh, a chicken!

little underachiever on the prairie

I have come to the sad realization that the reason I am not super-successful and famous is not that I don’t have the talent or ability or ideas to become so. I have all of those things.  I just don’t have them in time. Other people have great ideas about things I love and I see them and am all, damn! Why didn’t I do that? I TOTALLY could have done that and made money and have an entire career based off of my weird obsessions.

Case in point: Wendy McClure. I first discovered her (I thought, anyway) as HalfPintIngalls on Twitter. Yep. Brilliant, right? She tweets as Laura Ingalls Wilder. A fun, snarky Laura. Probably like Laura would have been if they’d had Twitter on the prairie. So digging in further, I find that Wendy is not only having fun with the tweets, she has an entire book coming out, based on her obsession with the Little House books. She’s done every geeky thing I’ve ever dreamed about doing. She’s retraced the Ingalls’ path. She’s gone to all the houses, museums and pageants. She’s even recreated all the bizarre things I read about in those books – green pumpkin pie? Maple-syrup-on-snow candy?  She did these things. She wrote a book. She’s making money off of her obsession with Little House. She has a freaking book tour. I could have done all that. But the thought never even crossed my mind that Little House was a career path.

Not. Fair.

And then? I look a little further. Wendy McClure is also the genius behind the Weight Watchers Recipes from 1974 page.

I could have done that. Hell, I know Weight Watchers better than I know Little House, and those old recipe cards are just screaming to be made fun of. But it never would have occurred to me. And that’s the problem. You see these things after the fact, and you realize if you’d just thought of it first, it could have been you. But that’s really hard. Having the talent, having the knowledge – that’s one thing. But how the hell do you make yourself think of good ideas first?

Don’t even get me started on BronxZoosCobra.