It’s always been the question and in some cases, the assumption that I would follow the lineage. I can’t even begin to remember where it started. As I got older, the question always carried the same intention, but the wording changed: “have you ever considered…”, “is that something you would like to go into…”
I always had an excuse. For a while, it was June 14th, 1996 and that I didn’t think I could stomach having to deal with that. The lasting image of tears and exhaustion slumped in a chair on the back step, of defeat. Though it painted me as cowardly, it was a title I could bear, as a young teenager, I just couldn’t imagine being able to handle that.
For the past half a dozen years now, the excuse has been the eyes. I can’t wear contacts, I can’t get LASIK, thus I can’t achieve the minimum level of sight required. It was convenient and unquestionable. I’ve been successfully able to evade answering the question for years now simply because I physically can’t do IT. My eyes allowed me to avoid dealing with IT, to avoid navigating the complicated feelings about IT, whether following through would ever be my own path or just what others would want of me. I haven’t had to consider it.
Now things are changing, the eyes can be fixed. In fact, the eyes will be fixed; I’m on a wait list for surgery for my eyes. They called this week to confirm that surgery is the option I wish to pursue. I could have the procedure done as early as February. My excuse is soon going to be gone and I still don’t have an answer.
The truth is, of course, that I have considered IT. Greatly and yet still not enough. I considered IT a lot during the three months at the end of the my college program and again last September. Last September was almost too much, being immersed and overwhelmed in that world. The question loomed large, it always followed “and what do you do?” I fumbled for answers, for meaning and found little. To those who ask the question and see their own dream in me, there is no other answer that stands, everything else isn’t on equal footing. You either do IT or you’re of a different standing. I still consider IT a lot now and I still don’t have an answer.
My path remains clouded.
“I don’t think you could do IT.” The words tumble onto the table, splash into my face. My cheeks burn as I bite my tongue, strangling the reply before it even touches my lips…I would have said the same thing about you two years ago.
Physically, I have few doubts. I may not be in the best shape of my life, but I know what it takes to get there and I recognize that even when I was there, less than a year ago, there was much room for improvement. With proper motivation, with a goal, it would be achievable. It would require work, but achievable.
Mentally, again, no doubts. It all comes down to applying myself, something which admittingly, I rarely do, but if I were to go for IT, if I chose to dive in, full desire, I know that I can’t be stopped. This is just short of cockiness and I’m aware of that.
You’re wrong. I could do IT. But am I weak just because I might choose not to?
Truthfully, it’s never been my dream. I’ve taken the time to ask those who went for IT about when they knew that that was their path and most admit that it always was. IT was always something they wanted. IT has never been for me. I have friends who are now considering IT, others who have gone through with IT and I honestly don’t fully understand why. It’s been a mantle I’ve carried since the beginning, but why others, without the expectations, without the life long influence. What draws them in? What attracts them? Is it just the idea of steady work, an honest job, something to take pride in?
I once had a conversation with a friend of mine about the appeal of the ‘honest work’. The charm of putting in your 9-to-5, honest, hard, blue-collar work, then hanging up your coveralls when the whistle blows, going home and not having to deal with the idea of work again until the next morning. No lasting questions, weighing to-do lists, no feeling that you’re falling behind or fighting a losing battle. Just pure, simple honest work. It sound so attractive. I don’t have that now. I understand that likely, I’m too smart, too absent-minded, too easily bored and distracted for that. I’m too smart for my own good.
On the flip side, I just don’t see value in forging ahead, in pursuing IT to live out someone else’s dream. I don’t see value in doing IT to prove any doubters wrong, to change an opinion, to become the prodigal son, to live up to what others may view as my destiny. Is it wrong to want to forge my own path, become my own person, regardless of the expectations of others?
If I were to do IT, it would have to be my reasons. The morals, standing up for what is right and just, defending what is right and just. But even that doesn’t focus me enough right now. IT’s an option, IT’s always been an option, but I could never short-change my own future to live out someone’s dream for me.
I’ve been asked point-blank. Sitting at a table, eating lunch. Straight to the point, before I even knew the eyes could be fixed: ‘do you want to do IT?’ I still don’t have an answer.