Ok, I’ve been living at home for three-and-a-half or so weeks now. I thought my head would explode by now but surprisingly it hasn’t. My friends who moved back home after graduation advised me to keep a calm head and to expect near strangulation of the parentals by month three. Well, I haven’t reached month three so there you go. Let’s be real, I do get annoyed with my parents every once in awhile but then I remind myself that I am not paying rent or groceries or spending lots of money and that I haven’t really been with my family in four plus years so effing get over it because this time is precious.
The big adjustment hit me big time, though, when I realized after my first weekend in L.A. that, no, this wasn’t some weekend stay and, yes, you no longer live in D.C. Freakin’ started panicking, journal-ing (not for your eyes though!), tears welling up, “Oh, shit (ting), oh, shit (ting).” My social circle has decreased dramatically as well as my urge to go out. I know you’re thinking, Well, that’s why you’re having a shitty time Gen. Because you don’t go out. Listen, if gas prices aren’t what they are and traffic in L.A. isn’t such a bitch, I’d be all up in the city like, Heeeey. But they are and I feel ultra guilty when driving off doing my own thing since I don’t even have my own car; I’m borrowing my dad’s for the meantime.
It’s a good thing I still have a job (part time but I’ve still got my benefits!) and am applying for grad schools, a part time job in itself. I’ve found keeping myself busy makes this three month transition to the next big move bearable and quick. Also, my parents have been very understanding about this whole where am I going stage and are supportive of me “exploring,” my mom’s favorite word when it comes to any sort of post-undergraduate, 20-something, life talk. It’s quite nice considering I get the impression that some of her friends and family members think I’m not being practical when it comes to “my plans.” One of my mom’s best friends keeps telling me there are great jobs with the city of Los Angeles. “Starting salary is usually $40,000,” she said. Yeah, my job paid me nothing in comparison to that when I worked full-time but that’s why those jobs are great. Because they are boring office jobs and they need something – AKA dolla dolla bills ya’ll – to lure people in. Kinda like working at the Fed. Bernanke took good care of you there. The facilities in that building are to behold. We’re talking cafeteria views of the National Mall, underground passages, gym, convenient store – it’s like a little city over there. And the benefits are stellar. But honestly, there are people that have been there for 30 years, still working more or less the same job. Stability like that makes sense when you’ve got a family and “real” responsibilities but when you don’t have that…then why would you?
Researching this grad school stuff has been all kinds of scary for me, mainly because I never saw myself going back to school. Like, ever. It explains why you will see some discrepancies on my transcript and why my resume doesn’t look like that of a future scholar. I’ve always wondered about people who knew what they wanted to do with their lives when they were, like, five. Last night I was watching a rerun of Project Runway and Rami said he knew he wanted to be fashion designer when he was six. SIX. When I was six I wanted to be the check out girl at the grocery store because I liked the BEEP sound the computer would make after running the bar code under the scanner. What about Seth Rogen, who freakin’ started writing Superbad when he was 13. Are you kidding me? Dude was all up on that when he was 13?
There’s admiration for folks like that but then a tinge of jealousy. It’s like, When will my time come? But the more and more I think about this and the “Greater Plan,” the more I think, Maybe it – that ultimate dream goal or dream ambition – has always been in me, I just laughed it off or suppressed it because it was just that, a dream.
Two years ago, the last winter break of my senior year of college, I read over old journal entries from high school. Sometimes I read them to bring on the LOLs. It works. I came upon this one entry I wrote in July 2001. It’s a silly entry where I pretended I was being interviewed for some magazine and they were asking me what I wanted to be when I grow up. The inspiration for the entry must have been some “10 Teenage Girls that Are Making a Difference” type article you’d find in Seventeen magazine. I told the “interviewer” that I wanted to be a broadcast journalist much like Diane Sawyer. However, if that didn’t work out I’d want to work as writer for National Geographic.
“National Geographic?” the “interviewer” asked. “That seems so different.”
Oh, yes, I know, I said. I’ve always been interested in ancient civilizations, different cultures, archaeology. It’s so fascinating!
Whoever thinks life is on the random needs to wise up because this stuff is raw. You probably think this isn’t a big deal but just imagine coming across something you wrote five years ago, thinking nothing of it and then five years later, after all these life experiences, reading it and freaking out because your five years older self forgot about it and now gets it. Like reading a book the second time around and catching all the little symbols and metaphors you missed when you first read the book and understanding them. After my 21-year-old self read that entry I just about started shrieking to myself, WHAT THE FUCK?! Unbelievable. I wrote that? Did I know I wanted to do that? Cos that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life now!
The funniest part was I forgot that I wrote that entry. In that five year span, I went to college thinking that I’d graduate and be some kind of reporter or correspondent. I forced myself to like some of my classes and to enjoy this whole j-school process because for so long I convinced myself, and other people, that one of these days I’d be like Diane Sawyer. Every time I went home and saw my mom’s aunt she’d say, “So when are we going to see you on the t.v. Genny?” and then bring up that new Filipino, “or is she Chinese?” anchor on channel five. Uh, well, you see Lola. Yeah…no.
Digging up bones or talking about pop culture never seemed like real jobs because they just seemed like so much fun and not practical. I don’t really know where I’m going with this but it’s just…I didn’t think I’d be here. I didn’t think I’d like school as much as I did. I didn’t think I’d have the fortitude to try for an advanced degree. Hell, I don’t know if I have the fortitude to try for an advanced degree. I don’t know if I’ll change my mind in a month, a year, three years from now. I just want so badly for my time to come you don’t even know. Sometimes I imagine me sitting with Oprah, chatting with her about my book, reminiscing about my “Aha!” moment. Or sometimes I imagine me sitting with James Lipton, answering those damned questions about my favorite noise and my favorite curse word, telling him I love the sound of the ocean, and my favorite curse word is “Fuck.” Then turning to my mama in the audience and apologizing because she is not fond of curse words. See, this is what I imagine in my head.
I know I probably sound self-absorbed and like a whiny little asshole and I apologize. Truth is just spilling out everywhere now isn’t it?