We were talking about the future.
Not his future, not our future, but my future; the future I will have whether or not he is still in my life a few years down the road.
Miles between us and the blue glow of the Skype screen were the only things connecting us as he mentioned potential jobs and majors and what the pay was like and if he thought I would like the job. He was trying to help me because he knew I wouldn’t help myself. I listened intently, trying to see if maybe someone else could figure me out. Maybe someone knows me better than I know myself. Maybe someone can tell me what I should do with my life or what I would like to do.
“I don’t think you could work for someone for too long. It would stifle your creativity. You’d hate it,” he says.
I freeze. I know he’s right but it scares me to think that the thing I want for my future is an unconventional dream. All my life I’ve been raised to think that having an unconventional job, an art job, isn’t going to make me “successful” in society’s terms. What happened to wanting the stable job and the financial security? I always saw myself in one of those jobs even if I never knew what job it was. What happened to wanting the kinds of jobs that my parents always envisioned me in? I mean.. I guess I never saw myself in those jobs anyways, but I always imagined I’d just end up in one of them no matter what. Growing up, I saw people make it big on YouTube, people using Instagram to grow their platforms, photographers and videographers and artists making their jobs into a living and loving every second of it but I couldn’t see myself in one of those jobs no matter how badly I wanted that for myself. Yet here we sit, talking about my future, and realizing that I don’t want the conventional job or I don’t want it for very long, I want what I’ve always known I wanted even if that means it isn’t exactly the ideal job for society or my parents.
He sits there waiting for me to nod or say something. He’s expecting me to acknowledge that reality. And I do, but it takes a while for me to process.