Back when I was working as an environmental scientist/hydrogeologist (yes, I know that’s not a word but it was my job title for 3 years), and had time to sip my iced coffee while browsing the net until I woke up around 11AM, I wrote a poem:
Am I doomed to Live my Life
As Everyday Joe
Excited for daily lunch break?
Or am I to find my
To which so few awake?
I remember thinking that monitoring contaminated soil and groundwater extracted from underneath gas stations across Massachusetts was not what I had dreamed of doing when I was a kid. But what had I dreamed of doing as a kid? My Mom had told me that “I’d better think of something else” when I told her I wanted to be a singer and my high school biology teacher had told me “they don’t make any money” when I told him I wanted to be a marine biologist. Turns out, I can’t sing and deep water terrifies me. So what had I wanted to do when I was a kid and there was a world of possibilities I could work towards? How did I end up with so much oily soil under my broken fingernails?
Turns out, I had no dreams as a kid, or at least none that I can remember. There was one reoccurring dream or walking and jumping off a pier into darkness, but that doesn’t count. Nor do I know what it meant. But I digress.
When I got asked to go part-time or get laid off from my environmental job and I gleefully chose to be laid off, and the quickest job to find was substitute teacher in the Boston Public Schools, I didn’t think anything of it. But somewhere along the way, probably after getting a full-time position a year later, I remembered all the times I forced my brother to sit in front of my small chalkboard so that I could play teacher. It would always end in him crying to Mom that he didn’t want to play school anymore and me rationalizing that I was really just helping him, but it was something that could be considered a Life dream being played out.
Back when my job title wasn’t a word and I had time to slack off at work, my poem hung on my blue padded cubicle wall for me to stare at everyday. I’m no poet, so where had it come from? It’s funny how Life works.
I still wait for lunch break because it comes after teaching 160 straight minutes, but I no longer have time to sit back with an iced coffee and ponder what I should be doing with my Life. There is no time to think. There’s only time to Do.
I like it that way.