Without that path

It's been over a year since I graduated college and I am not really any closer to figuring out what I would like to do with my life. During the months before graduation, I sought the help of everyone I could think of: both of my academic advisors, the career help center, and - perhaps the most unusual - the gifts discernment coordinator. (Though, honestly, I have always thought of him more as a Quaker seer.) F. was kind of a controversial figure in some circles, but I was desperate. I needed all the help I could get trying to decide what my next steps would be. I had applied to two graduate programs and got rejected from both: academia was all I knew and all I was good at and without that path I was lost.

I went to F. twice in the month or so before graduation. I told him the dreams my subconscious was giving me, that I wanted to live in a place that had flowing water (remembering Venice, my true love in the form of a city), that I was thinking about DC. In return, he told me I was stronger than I thought, asked me what wine and water symbolized for me, and told me - though not in so many words - that I did not belong in DC. Those two meetings come back to me a lot. I moved to DC anyway, obviously, but it's true: this city isn't really mine. I like being here, I appreciate having public transportation and museums, but I don't quite belong.

I don't have the ambition, the drive, that it takes to really thrive here. Like I said in my first post here, I'm something of a dilettante. But honestly, it's less this city and more that I am just not cut out for office work. This feeling of not-belonging has been building and building - which is not quite the right attitude to have before a job interview. (Yes, I had one, yesterday.) It seems to me that what I want to do right now is hole up somewhere and write, maybe making money by working in a bookstore or a café or hell, maybe a bakery or something. Way opens, as the Quakers at school used to say.

At any rate, I've made some lists:

what I don't want
  • an office
  • to be in charge of people
  • sitting all day
  • something morally/ethically reprehensible
  • in VA

what I do want

  • reading
  • writing
  • to be happy


  1. you know? i didn't used to see the appeal so much in a cafe' or bookshop job, but now i really do!

  2. Seriously. I know that I am absolutely idealizing it a little bit, but it still seems better than being stuck in a cubicle all day.

  3. I have been lusting over a barista job for a long time.

    Danielle, Alison and I live in Winston-Salem now and have a very nice little spot carved out for us. You are welcome to come here for a writing/reflecting/doing nothing retreat ANY TIME. Hell as long as I'm still unemployed we can sit at a cafe and talk and blog and read all day.


  4. Josh, thank you for the delightful comment! It made my heart jump to hear from you. (I'll be replying more in depth over on the facebook.)

  5. Love the device for making the list of what you want: the bullets. Effective, clear and to the point. With efficiency like that, you are bound to get where you want to get. Go get 'em.

  6. Marion, thanks! Lists are actually kind of a coping mechanism for my ever-so-Libran indecisiveness.