Do you remember those magic 8 balls that you shook to find out an answer, or for the poorer amongst us-those paper origami fortune telling games..
Or working out by some weird number code whether the boy you fancies was going to marry you or simply kiss you (because I think there were only positive options-probably good for any teens’ self confidence)
You knew these things were rubbish, but you kinda secretly hoped they were true and could be reassured by them. I still have a love for a fortune cookie in part due to it being a delicious biscuit, but in part because it is a little pot of magical random wisdom…
I have generally felt fairly confident about my choices, in fact until I was in my mid 20s I genuinely believed that interviews were about me deciding whether I wanted the job. (Oh the idealistic naivety of my youth…little did I know that one was about to turn 360 on me). The assumption that the ‘right’ thing would happen.
These attitudes were in part due to being a product of my time, being told you can have it all and be it all was pretty good going until the economic reality of the nation couldn’t meet the hype. But also, in my head I had God on my side, the added reassurance of my faith that I was making the right choice. There is no issue with feeling more secure because of your beliefs, in fact I still get that from being a christian. But I can now acknowledge what I had beck then was verging into arrogance, this assumption that not only was I right but God (the ultimate trump card) backed my decisions!
At one point I was arguing with my dad when I was 17 and he told me I wouldn’t be going on my year out to South America, and I laughed in his face saying ‘it didn’t matter what he said if God wanted me to go I was going!’ Oh stupid, self righteous, over zealous me… don’t worry it all evens out in the end, I now have a toddler who now puts me in my place daily. I cringe when I remember that story, Sadly it is not an isolated incidence.
However I also miss the clarity I had of my convictions, the comfort I felt that things were exactly as they should be. Because right now, in my mid-30s, 2 children, 1 degree and 1 Masters, and a fair few failed interviews later I have not a flippin clue what I should be doing.
My beliefs have changed and merged into something my dad said in response to my crazy 17 year old outburst ‘I think God is more concerned with who you are then where you are’. So I feel clarity about the characteristics I should pursue, the person I want to become. But what the flip should I do to make some money guys, and how do you know what to pursue?
You’d think it be simple…just get any job! But you have to get a job, as in some person has to choose you and that ain’t the piece of pie I thought it was 10 years ago. It feels like I am trying to swim in a pool of athletes to get chosen for the team, but I actually can’t find any space because the pool is so crowded, I am a limpet and not even by choice! (In case you wonder when you choose to be a limpet in a pool, when you actually go to relax and just want the feeling of being in a big bath and catching up with your mates not swimming…weirdly that sounds unusual but its not, there is a strong limpet crowd at many a pool!)
Back to the what should I be doing…here are some thoughts:
A bookseller, stationary designer-you see that all takes money, and I need to not be spending money but making it, so we can pay for childcare, so I can work. You see the dilemma right?
I have a few friends who have such amazing self confidence (the good type) and I see them move between high flying jobs-sometimes I think its because in their early 20s someone saw something in them and they just excelled, they didn’t have the knock backs that have dented a lot of us. But maybe they just have a resilience that I struggle to hold on to?
Also when you have deconstructed your theology, when you’ve been disillusioned by politics, and seen your own flaws grow bigger and bigger-how do you find that clarity about which direction to take? We all rely on something to guide us, whether its practical economics or a sense of calling. But where do I find mine?
Maybe I need to get myself one of those paper fortune tellers??At least they are cheap and you can youtube how to make it!