(Originally posted at The Bear's Necessities)
I recently spent a good three months planning my future career as a clinical psychologist. I was pretty excited about going back to school and eventually entering a field in which I could marry my interest in figuring out how people ‘work’ with my desire to help people (or whatever). I imagined the nice house in Atlanta that I’d share with my husband. We’d have two kids, two cars, a dog and a huge flat-screen TV. Most nights, I’d come home around 7pm with a few bags filled with prepared meals from the Whole Foods buffet. After the kids were in bed, I’d relax for a bit in my delightfully over-sized shower (separate from the bathtub), put on my cotton designer pajamas, and curl up with a mango or passion fruit sorbet on my very plush, neutral-colored couch to watch whichever variety show host that would appropriately appeal to my age bracket and liberal sensibilities. At first, I’d chuckle along with the host’s witty antics as he/she jovially poked fun at pop culture trends and the inane goings-on of public figures. Then I’d spend the rest of the evening angrily communicating with my sorbet via violent spoon-digs that ‘I could do that.’
You know that moment in a movie when the main character is teetering at the edge of an abyss? At this crisis point, pretty often a character that you thought was cute but dismissed as comic relief, or maybe at best a foil highlighting important facets of the protagonist’s personality, steps in and says something that (frequently unwittingly) communicates to the protagonist exactly what s/he needs to do in order to resolve the conflict and leave the audience with that cathartic resolution that they so desire.
I went to Atlanta a couple weeks ago for a week-long vacation. It was a great trip in which I got to bake a peach cobbler with my grandmother, hang out with my friends and family, deal with going to a bar and then needing to drive home afterward, and resume my preferred 4am-1pm sleep cycle. At one friend’s birthday party, I was feeling pretty nauseous, something that had been happening once a day for the past week or so. I still valiantly powered through, nursing a glass of white wine as I caught up with my college roommate, Nina, who had returned to Atlanta recently. Nina listened thoughtfully and nodded as I explained my new life plan. She then asked me what the hell I was doing.
I’m not going to be a psychologist. Instead, I’m doing the damn thing. Currently the damn thing game plan is no more specific than “don’t spend any money for ten months” and then make ‘the move’ out to LA when my lease is up in June. It’s likely that I’ll talk myself out of doing this six or seven times until then, but I’m really hoping I don’t in the end. I’m getting too old for Nina to keep making mystical guidance figure appearances in my life, and plane tickets to Atlanta are never as cheap as you’d expect tickets to a ‘hub’ to be. So please indulge me over the next few months as I fantasize about living near the beach, evading the oppressive and unnecessary BS that is ‘winter’, finding an affordable hybrid and adopting a dog that I will name Bear. Incidentally, I haven’t been nauseous since Nina verbally smacked me and shook me to my emotional core.