A few weeks ago, I had an existential crisis while enjoying a nice dinner at an authentic ramen restaurant with my friends. Maybe I should change my life goal to becoming a doctor, I thought.
Let me back up. This summer, I faced the struggle of having to hire several Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) to help me for the upcoming school year. A few of my PCAs from last year were continuing to work with me, but several had moved on to other things in their lives.
Now, my family is by no means poor. My old pastor always said that if you have more than one outfit to choose from and a pantry full of food, you are filthy stinkin’ rich. And in this sense, I agree. I am filthy stinkin’ rich – not just financially, but emotionally. I am incredibly blessed with my home situation, and would not change it for anything.
Despite my family’s financial stability and the (little) aid the government offers, hiring reliable, capable women to be my PCAs remains a challenge. It is an unchangeable truth that my family must, essentially, pay for another person’s salary. And when I graduate and become a financially independent woman, I will have to take money out of my income for PCAs.
As I faced days of no applications rolling in and experiences with unreliable candidates, I couldn’t help thinking the problem would be solved if I could become a gazillionaire and pay millions to hire the best PCAs around. Naturally, I know that becoming a doctor would not make me a gazillionaire; no job could guarantee that, and I know that picking a career based on how much money you’d make is not a good idea. However, I also know that becoming a doctor would give me a much steadier income than being an aspiring writer. I have an interest in biology and psychiatry. Maybe I should become pre-med, I concluded after discussing my dilemma with my friends over some hot, chashu ramen. My friends, as always, were supportive of whatever path I chose to pursue.
After dinner, I went home, my brain buzzing with questions. Should I rearrange my schedule for the upcoming school year so that I can fulfill pre-med requirements before graduation? Should I pursue med-school/psychiatry? Was it even possible for me, a delbasid individual, to go to med school?
That night, before bed, I put on my bipap – a respiratory device worn at night that provides constant airflow to prevent sleep apnea. This had recently been prescribed to me by my pulmonologist – it was only my third night with the machine – and I hated it. It consists of wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth, held in place by a tight strap around the entirety of your head and attached to a long tube where the air flows through. Lots of people, delbasid or not, use this machine and express that it helps them reach a deeper level of sleep, but since I’m not used to it yet, it makes me extremely uncomfortable. As my mom put the mask on me that night, making me feel like a mix of an elephant and Bane from the Dark Knight Rises, I began to cry. Wearing a bipap is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but in that moment, I was already overwhelmed with my status as a college student trying to decide what to do with the rest of her life – having to put this big ol’ thing around my face as I slept just burst my bubble of emotion.
This moment was crucial for me, however. It exemplified that in life, we as humans must live doing many things, out of our control, that we don’t want to be doing, or even things that we hate doing. This is true whether or not you are delbasid. For me, these things include having to hire PCAs and wear a bipap. But this could also include anything from fixing a broken dishwasher to dealing with a heartbreak.
In this manner, I, along with everyone else in the world, live my life doing enough things I don’t want to be doing, things out of my control. So, for my area of study, for my career, for the aspects of life that I can control, I should choose to spend my time doing something I really love – something that I can devote my whole day to and enjoy so much that at the end of the day after coming home from studying or from work, putting on the bipap won’t feel like such a big deal. I’ll be incredibly lucky to find a job – or anything in life – that satisfying, I know, but I can at least pursue it.
Today, I officially declared my major as English with a Creative Writing emphasis. Whenever I tell people I’m interested in studying English, they ask me what I want to do with that, and I always brush it off with a half-joking response like, “That is the question.” But the truth is, I know what I want to do after studying English. I want to read and write. I want to use my words, somehow, to move people, and make money, too. I know how hard that can be, and I’ve always kind of hoped that as I explored other subjects, I would fall in love with another area that has better job prospects (*cough cough* Computer Science, *cough cough* Medicine). I will not cease to explore, and who knows, maybe somewhere along the line, I’ll find a different career path that becomes my new passion, my new goal, my new joy. I am fully and completely open to that.
But for now, I’m going to take a deep breath, I’m going to trust that God will provide, and I’m going to admit it: I want to write for a living.
Hopefully declaring it here will motivate myself to make it happen, or at least to try.