29 November, 2010

Nostalgia, Harry Potter, and an Unachievable Dream

First, I did get to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1... three times already. It was excellent, and I'd gladly go see it again. I really enjoyed it and find something new every time.

Second, a little thing.

Today was the first day of deer hunting season in Pennsylvania. When I was younger, this meant a few things. One, dad, pap, and my brother - for a while even my mom - would go out hunting bright and early in the cold. We would stay at home, in the warm house with the stove and oven on, baking cookies sometimes, but always, always making hard tack with my Grandma. Hard tack, to us, is not what it is to other people - not hard biscuits that last forever, but instead a delicious, strong flavored hard sugar candy. We used to make it every single year, and it would leave the house smelling so strongly of the extracts we used - spearmint, butterscotch, cinnamon. I loved the spearmint the most. It would taste so strong, so much like Christmas, like winter.
We don't do this anymore.
I miss it. Baking cookies with my whole family - cocoa cookie sticks, ginger snaps, thumbprint cookies, gingerbread men - those times and this day, in my memories, stick out as something sweet and irreplaceable. Spending time with my grandparents and siblings and parents - even before we had foster kids (admittedly, some of the sweetest memories were from then, when I was incredibly young and I can only barely remember).
The days after the first day of deer season were often filled with cleaning whatever deer my dad or mom happened to get, laying it out on the table and cutting it up, making the meat as lean as we could, and grinding some of the remainders for burger. I still love eating venison, and I get it so rarely I've almost forgotten the taste (neck roast is my favorite).
I don't think I'll ever get to experience those type of things again. My memories will have to suffice. I just hope I can always hold onto the happy thoughts, the smells and sensations, and the warm piece of my soul that fills with just a little pain when I remember.

Last, I've been thinking so much about the future. I've switched my major to general studies and should be finished after one summer semester upcoming, and will have an Associates of Sciences. I cannot wait to be done with school! The thing is, I can't figure out if I want to go back. I wish that going to school wasn't such a requirement to be successful these days, because I've grown to hate everything about it. Learning has become a chore, something required, not something I love. I didn't think that would ever happen, except with math.
I also am beginning to feel the drag of a future as an admin. I'll probably be an admin for a pretty long time - I'm not deluded enough to think that I can make Pure Romance be a forever career, at least not while I have the responsibility of my regular job, which is something I'll have for the foreseeable future. I would like to do something I feel inspired by. I believe in the industry I work in, but I don't know if working in corporate and working in a business-based job is going to leave me able to feel happy after a while. I know it's already taking its toll.
Even then, I don't know if I want to do Pure Romance forever. I don't know if I want to do anything forever. I do know, however, that I'm very tired already, and every winter, I think more about how much I wish I could stay forever with my family and the summer and spring and fall in Pennsylvania, but take them with me to somewhere that doesn't get covered in snow and somewhere that doesn't leave me in pain and weary with waking every morning.

Is it wrong to want to wake up and want to get out of bed, and to have the strength to do so without feeling like I am carrying a lead shroud around my body? Is it wrong to want to have a job that I will enjoy the majority of the time, instead of sometimes? How do people live out their lives feeling this way?

I just feel world-weary and it's stupid for me to feel that way, with so little experience and wisdom under my belt.


  1. The only thing I'm sure about in my future is that I want kids and to be a mom and not work full time. Since I have that desire, I don't have all the awful thoughts about my job when it is stressing me out. I know I won't be stuck in it forever. Or hope that I won't be stuck in it forever.

    I actually want to learn and go back to school but know once I get started, it will stress me out.

    I have lots of memories of baking with my grandma when I was younger. I love those memories. Memories are good to have.

  2. Your memory of the deer hunting and cookies is very evocative here. My memories are very similar, though we went out camping when we went deer hunting, and so I have lots of memories of late-night fires and roasting various things on sticks.

    About education/career... I think that most bright folks whose universities don't help them intern in the biz get to that point. We are poorly equipped, as undergraduates, to take the degree and actually use it. Instead we have to go play darts with our careers and just hope that we have decent aim. I know I sound bitter, but really I just want to let you know that I've been in a similar spot, and I know how deflating it feels.

    Congratulations on being so close to done with school. It is an accomplishment, even if it doesn't net you a fulfilling job right away.


  3. Colleen: I think it's good that you have reassurance that you will be able to not work and be a stay at home mom someday. The fact that Dave has a good job and is earning money, and that you are earning good money now, is promising.

    Thank you very much. We used to go "camping" - staying at my grandparents' camps - around trout fishing season. I get nostalgic then, too - it's something about that muddy spring smell when I walk out the door that just makes me misty-eyed.

    Since I have been going to a community college, and have been working the whole time without the financial leeway to not work, internships were something I could not ever expect to do, particularly since I've been doing degrees that don't even typically offer them (at least since I declared my original major that I've since changed to General Studies).
    I just have been truly struggling of late with not being "great" at anything. I have passable skills in a few areas, but no true talents - nothing extraordinary, and nothing in particular that is above average. Trying to decide what to do with my life when I look at that is very difficult, and it doesn't matter how generally bright I am, without a specific goal and specific skills, I end up floating in a sea of mediocrity and dreading the future more every day, because I have nowhere to go.

    I am glad to be almost-done. The little break in between now and the summer semester will help a little, I think, but I just wish I felt more secure that someday I won't feel so inadequate and unaccomplished.

    *hugs* Thanks!

  4. open a bakery.

    I know it sounds trite but it's honest advice. Start small, just make cookies and such from home and see how people respond to them and if people will buy them. If so over time do more of it. That and you say you miss that interaction with your family, you could look at it as a tactile connection to those memories so they will never fade and always be a part of who you are and what you do.

  5. RE: Anonymous (I'm not sure who this is)

    I've thought of opening a coffee shop a billion times. A bakery, I think, would be too hard on my weight, lol.
    It's rough to find time to bake and perfect my processes. I'm a perfectionist when it comes to food, and I don't know if I could handle the added failures every day right now. Maybe someday.

  6. I'm sorry if you've talked about this before and I missed it, but the lead shroud feeling sounds like depression or SAD, maybe? Have you looked into that possibility? Big hugs to you, regardless!

  7. mo pie: I actually have a diagnosis of BiPolar II - it encompasses depression and severe mania. Thank you, though! Hugs hugs!