It’s getting to be that time, now, when us college seniors attain ninja status and become serious professionals at ducking and rolling out of any conversation that has to do with the F word. The Future. People are all, What are you doing with your life? And, How are you preparing for your career/401k/potential zombie apocalypses? And, partly in preparation for those zombies, we duck and roll away.
I’ll admit it’s because I’m mostly afraid that anything I say won’t be good or cool or future-Pulitzer-material enough for whoever’s asking. So I made a list here instead, of actual things I’ve been up to, none of which will come up in a casual conversation with the relatives over the holidays (unless I add the word ‘law school’ to the end of each sentence). But it’s here, because I’m pretty okay with it all, and it’s been a lot of fun.
Now presenting: An Inconclusive List of Ways I’d Actually Like To Answer “What Are You Doing With Your Life?” Without Giving My Career Counselor A Stroke
1. Being a dummy.
Or, arguably, a dummie. Last spring, I met a French exchange student who changed my perspective on everything from journalism, Tarantino films and cheese. Over the summer, I bought a copy of “French for Dummies” and have been chiseling away at it with the determination of a rabid Millennial who just wants to understand what that one part in that one Beyoncé song actually says.
2. Photographing smoothies
There’s this great smoothie and juice shop called Blenders by my apartment that’s converted me into someone who mildly cares about kale, and since September, I’ve had the opportunity to run their Instagram account (follow us at @BlendersComo). It’s been a crash course in social engagement, how local businesses work and my roommates learning not to be perturbed when they come home and find this:
(This is how Mario Testino started out, right?)
When my friend Celia sent me James Altucher’s book, “Choose Yourself,” I had a brief traumatic flashback to when my mother used to give me self-help books for Christmas. But I’ve become the most obnoxious proselyte about Altucher now. He’s like this crazy, triple-octane older sibling who’s seen it all and done it all, and convinces you that you can do the same. I finished it a week ago and keep telling my friends I’ll lend them my copy, but in reality I’ve chained it to my nightstand and made it clear it’s never allowed to leave.
4. Reading bedtime stories
I picked up an old copy of The Missouri Review and The Paris Review from a used bookstore at the beginning of the semester, I think, as literary penance for buying the latest issue of Cosmo at a gas station earlier that day. Reading short stories and poems again revived that preteen dork inside who always flipped to the end of Girl’s Life issues to read the fiction. My favorite story, Ben Fountain’s “The Lion’s Mouth,” is about an aid worker in Sierra Leone who falls in love with a diamond smuggler. Sigh. If only job interviews let you discuss the ethics of diamond smuggling, instead of like, applicable skills.
5. Butting my head in Maneater affairs
To the current Maneater staff, I’ve officially become the overly excitable, mouth-breathing aunt who just really wants to know every detail about your life. But they’ve been complete gems about my inability to accept Maneater “retirement,” so they’re letting me help a little bit of the 60th Alumni Reunion (does anyone else actually get workshopgasms? No?) and write an occasional article rating the best bars in town. I mean, you know me. Anything for the good of the paper…