Light Bulb Moments

Greetings.

I really need to get better at this blog-updating-on-a-weekly-basis thing.

In my defense, I did have the flu. But I digress.

January is coming to an end about as quickly as it started. For a woman (girl, lady, female, she thing…) that had a vast canvass of open calendar dates and no tentative plans past Groundhog’s Day when I last wrote, the pace has certainly picked up. Since my last post, I have had three job interviews, am now planning a possible trip in April, and am about 99% sure I am kidnapping half of you to see Star Trek: Into Darkness with me in May…so I have some pretty paint splotches decorating my spring of 2013!

Speaking of the job interviews, I am pleased to announce that I am now a freelance writer and photographer for the local paper. I have my first assignment this week, and am pumped (stoked? ecstatic? jubilant?). Getting paid to write and take photos as an additional part time job seems too good to be true. Plus, I will be able to put this on my resume as additional real world experience. Which is always good, as we recent graduates and young professionals well know.

Now time for actual, thought provoking content :p

This past week as I mentioned, I finally caught what everyone else in the state of Wisconsin and parts of Illinois had earlier this year. I felt the warning sign Thursday night after work: a dull, grating sore throat trying to peer pressure my tonsils into turning bright red. Friday morning came, and I had a fever, chills, sore throat, cough-the works. I was so sick that I didn’t even want to read or watch television. None of the past times that soothe us as sick children seemed appetizing, so instead I slept or sat on the couch and stared at the wall in misery. It may sound like a waste of time, but as those of you who know me, whenever I am staring at a blank wall, it just means I have bought a one way ticket to the inner workings of my mind, a magical land where the weird things my dreams are made of are manufactured, my unanswered questions come back to haunt me, random movie trivia A-F is stored, and sudden light bulb moments of brilliance occur.

My last post regarded the many different directions new years can bring and not sacrificing one’s dreams or one’s self. Piggy backing off that concept, I made some interesting observations and revelations while under the influence of a fever and too much sleep. Since I am better with analogies, especially analogies with movies, I shall pair this piece with a little film I call The Graduate.

The Graduate was a memorable film from 1967 centering on the life of Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman), a recent college graduate, and the affair he starts with family friend, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft, also known as “Mel Brooks’ s late hot wife”). The entire film has become most recognized by the below image:

dustin hoffoman and leg

(There were other “memorable” scenes from this movie, this is the most…appropriate for the sake of said blog. Moving on)

I attempted to watch this movie my first year of college while home for the summer. Granted, considering the content, it wasn’t a flick I was going to readily invite the whole family to watch with me, and since the day I decided to give it a go I kept getting interrupted my patience waned so I wound up fast forwarding through most of the movie and important plot points and only stopping to listen to the incredible Simon and Garfunkel score.

Four years later, I decided to give the movie another try. And lo and behold, I found some meaning among the tussled bed sheets and cigarette butts.

At the very beginning of the movie, Benjamin is a stranger at his own graduation party. His parents, proud of his accomplishment of finishing college, throw him a big bash in his honor…and invite not his, but their closest neighbors, friends, and golf buddies from the country club. Every guest is eager to pat the young grad on his back, greet him with an open smile, and ask the worst question you can ever ask any recent graduate. Ever.

“So, what are your plans now?”

dustin hoffman face

(Okay…he made this face at a different point in the movie, but will serve my purpose for the time being)

However, later on in the movie (after Ben has started a rebellious and risky affair with Mrs. Robinson), Ben’s parents start to ask out of concern and worry what exactly their son’s plans for after college really are. He seems perfectly content disappearing for long hours at night, staying in his room all day, or in the pool in the backyard.

This is an observation I have made in my own life, the difference between current college students and recent graduates, at church and family gatherings alike. The scholar, or the current college student, is greeted with firm handshakes, smiles, pats on the back, and sideways glances that size up their potential. The recent graduate, on the other hand, is given nods of attempted understanding, a loss for the right thing to say, and not so subtle looks of concern, wondering when they will actually start their life.

Some of my friends have started their life. They have either found their calling, or accepted a temporary calling, are traveling the world, or getting married to their college sweetheart. In an essence, starting a new chapter in their lives in ways that make them happy or will pay the student loans. Those of us who haven’t done any of the above find community and brotherhood in our joint venture in Limbo. Wondering when that next step happens. Wondering when love will find us. Wondering where all the good jobs are.

The problem is, we (and by we, I really mean me) let one thing get in the way of starting our life: fear.

I made a realization this past week ( a light bulb moment if you will), that explains why I think I’m having so much trouble finding a full time job. I’m going after the wrong jobs. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been going after jobs in my field that I have a degree in (four years of college was not long enough of a time to find one’s self), but not jobs that fall in line with my dream job,, my calling, the thing that would actually make me work hard and use my gifts and talents to the best of my being-which scares the crap out of me.

And I don’t think I am the only one. Benjamin surely was scared. He lets his fear and insecurity control him the majority of the movie, until he runs away with Elaine after he breaks up her wedding, both of them finally taking initiative in their own lives, despite how freaked out they are about it:

dustin hoffman bus

(I think they might also be thinking finally about the fact that her mom is kind of his ex girlfriend…)

So, in line with going after my dreams and not settling for less, I am also not going to let myself get in the way, or let others either for that matter. I may have student loans, I may still be at home, I may only have part time jobs right now, and I may not be married yet, but I am okay with that, for now. Does that mean I don’t apply to any jobs and hold out in hopes for “the one”? No. But it means that I’m going to be better with greeting rejection emails and lack of job offers with a smile and know that there is a greater plan in the works. That I’m going to work hard and stay focused. That I’m going to enjoy the little things and appreciate and celebrate the big things.

“Hello darkness my old friend….”  the haunting melody cries.

Bring it on, I challenge playfully. I accept.

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2 thoughts on “Light Bulb Moments

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