When I was a kid, I never knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. I only knew that I wanted to like doing it, I wanted to help people, I wanted to be important, I wanted people to honor and respect me. You know the typical glory seeking, help people, noble profession. There are a lot of things that I thought I could do, because I am so good at learning new things. I always liked to get an “A” grade. I will not fail, even if at first I don’t succeed, try, try, again.
Later, as I began to study engineering in college, I also began to realize that one, I wasn’t very good at it and two, I did not like the kind of work it was. I had entered engineering, because the work was concrete. And the mark one makes on the world is concrete too. I thought that I would really make some additions to the world.
Then part way through my second semester of engineering, after I had flunked a Calc II test, I had a meltdown. I cried to my friends that I need to be good at what I do; I’ve done everything and only been, well, mediocre; granted, I got good grades, but that does not make me good. I certainly will not be making any additions to the field of engineering. They all asked, “Well, Renee, what are you good at?” I replied,
“Art. People have always complimented me on my abilities, and I have always been amongst the top performing in my art classes.”
They said, “Do that, Renee.”
I returned curtly, “I have to be realistic. Very few make a decent living doing art.”
I do not mean to show irreverence for the craft, but I have to be able to care for myself. It would hardly make sense to get a $120,000.00 education to be an artist. So I went and got myself a philosophy degree (irony). But, I minored in art and further proved to myself that I am a skilled artist.
So here I am working as an administrative assistant, thinking this is not what I will be doing the rest of my life, because it is not what I do best. I do not want to be like my mom who never settled on a career. She was a Jack of All Trades and I do not think it served her well. But, that may be because she’s a bit A.D.D. too.
I have assessed many times what it is I ought to do. When I graduated Gonzaga, I wanted to go the Architecture school. I would still like to do that. But, I have become a bit disenchanted with it due to our friend who is an architect and does not really get to design. She is neck high in the legal paperwork involved in building. I would want to design churches or residential, and I think very few get to do that.
I think Architectural drafting would suit me well. If you had asked me in high school do go get an A.A. in Architectual drafting, I would have said never. I hated computers, because that was when they crashed every five minutes, and I was above an A.A. Now I think A.A.s are where it’s at. Although, I am very proud of my philosophy degree and I loved doing it. I learned a lot while in college. I may do this, but it’s not what I do well.
After becoming a mom, I realize how much little kids need their moms. Alexander loves daycare and does very well there, but it’s not what is best for him, or his future siblings. I like domesticity. I like cleaning (I blame my mom for hiring me to clean her rental properties). I like cooking. I like vacuuming. I like baking pies. I like meeting with other moms. I like learning about nutrition and yoga. I want my own veggie garden, chickens, maybe a dairy cow. I really want to learn how to sew, so I can tailor our clothes to hobbit size. And I still want to be an artist—a painter.
Andrew and I want to have a lot of children, so I will not have time to work outside the home once more come along. But, I think is important for an adult to have something outside the home apart from the kids.
I have hang-ups about all this. God forbid anything happen to Andrew, I need to be able to work and support myself and I worry that being an artist just won’t cut it. I think that is why I want to do architectural drafting, but that’s not my art. Also, I am not an innovator when it comes to my art. My only desire is to classically portray beauty. So, chances are I will never make much money.
So what I will do with my life is still uncertain. I feel as though my life is on hold while Andrew completes his PhD. I think IDEALLY, I would be a mom with a vegetable garden and chickens, and on the side I would be an artist. I will not worry about someday, what if…we need more money, or Andrew dies and I have to work, etc., because in the end, as I have demonstrated throughout my life, I am a capable person and if I need a career outside the home, I will go out and get one and probably, I will be pretty good at it, not the best, but pretty good; and if I need further training, I am smart and I will go and learn it. I cannot be an artist right now, but it’s like riding a bike, so the first chance I get, I will do it again. So, hurry up Andrew and finish this PhD, so I can be a mom and an artist.
Also, I want to point out that being a mom would fulfill all the job requirements I wanted as a kid...I wanted to like doing it, I wanted to help people (help my kids), I wanted to be important (I would be the main person in their lives to help them live and grow into competent adults), I wanted people to honor and respect me (kids do that right).
P.s. That's my painting in the green. See, I ain't half bad.