We have a cute neighborhood coffee shop, the Daily Grind, which has incredible dark coffees and cases full of sweets (including vegan options!) and it is just a cozy and wonderful place. I love walking there with Liam on weekday mornings and I always envision us sitting together me with my coffee, him with his juice, people-watching, and sharing something ridiculously delicious. It normally works out to me trying to keep him wrangled near the table without me spilling my coffee or tripping over a table leg. We stopped in last week before browsing the thrift stores and an older gentleman started talking to me while I was putting up our dishes. He began by telling me about a friend or relative who had written a computer program and ending up selling it to pay for college. He kept saying that one day Liam was going to go to college and that computer science is where it’s at. Being that Liam is only 2 (and was not doing a good job staying out of trouble) – I was trying to just be polite but ended up leaving with a lot to think about. The moral of his story was to figure out what you want before you go to school. He had thought about being an engineer - and before he took the steps to go to school - he sat down with 4 or 5 other engineers to ask them questions. He wanted to know what they loved and what they would have done differently. He said of the 5 only one was really helpful and it led him into a very interesting career as an engineer. He said that his chosen field was limited to mostly military and government - so he didn't feel he had a lot of latitude if work wasn't around. He words definitely struck me and I believe it is definitely something that everyone can benefit from.
When you are a high school student, most conversations with adults revolve around college and your choices of schools, majors, minors, and all the rest. I am sure I was asked these questions and I am sure I blew them off. College never seemed an option for me. I worked full time and didn’t want to think about more school when I couldn’t even think about the following weekend. Finances were a part of it (although I know my family would have found a way if I really had my heart set) but it was more the huge decision of what I wanted to go to school for. In my experience, it seemed you either knew what you wanted to do from around the age of 10 or you went to school hoping to figure it out on your journey. And then there were those people who went to school and graduated only to be unable to find a job in their chosen field. This was 10 years ago – I can only think things haven’t changed much. So do you go to school with an idea of what you really want to do and then have a back-up plan (or 3)? Or do you choose something you hope will still be a big field when you graduate? It makes my stomach hurt. How can a 17 or 18 year old make this kind of decision?
I began working at a law firm when I was 20 and stayed there for 3 years. I loved the attorneys I worked for and loved researching and liaising with clients (and using phrases like “liaising with clients”) but after 3 years I was about to have a baby and I realized that family law was too depressing. I detested too many of the criminal law clients and all other kinds of law were too boring to even begin researching. While I was busy with having two kids in 15 months, I didn’t think about work, let alone school. Then when we were buying a house I watched lots of HGTV and I spent my waking moments trying to figure out how to make our house (and others) more perfect. After writing the Biggest Loser program for our MOMS Club – I thought maybe health would be a career to pursue. But then I got into this blog and realized how many great non-profits there are in my town alone. So I think non-profit is where it is at. One idea that has remained constant is the idea of helping.
But non-profits are still such a wide range! I have been researching and came across some websites and blogs (of course) and I have decided to join up with some of the non-profit groups in town. The Humane Society of Warren County is obviously a very fitting choice for me – my Dad used to call me Ellie May as a little girl because I wanted to adopt every animal I saw. Another group I am interested in is the FrontRoyal Women’s Resource Center. They seem to be made up of such an interesting group of women whose goal is to help other women in all areas of their lives.
I am looking forward to a 2012 that will hopefully send me down the right path – or at least shine some light on my options. I am ready to find my inspiration and get moving!