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Now that I've rounded the bend to age 25, I, of course, am pressed daily with the question of what am I going to do with my life? In high school, I thought I wanted to be a writer. I just knew I was going to write books and essays and poems and they were going to resonate so deeply with how someone felt that my life purpose would be so clear to me.
I recently moved into my own house and as I was cleaning out my father's garage, I went through all of my childhood report cards and projects and I noticed that consistently the feedback was this, "Rachel is a gifted writer and constantly demonstrates creativity. She engages in class discussion enthusiastically, but has a tendency to be disruptive in class with how much she talks." When I would see my father on the weekends, his way to appreciate me was to take me shopping. I remember one day we went to the bookstore and I picked out eight books and I couldn't narrow down the ones I wanted and so my father bought all of them. We met his friend for lunch where my dad told him that he had just spent $150 on books for me and his friend replied, "why didn't you make her just pick between a few?"
My dad said, "How can you say no to buying your child books?"
Growing up, all I wanted to do was read. And as this usually goes, I was also naturally gifted with writing as a child. I used to write fictional stories on my mom's computer after school. I liked to change the font colors for each section, so as to attach an emotion with the story. I was in honors English after my freshman year in high school, I joined the high school newspaper in my sophomore year, and was the news section editor in the paper my junior and senior years. I continued to take creative writing classes and AP English. The only time I got less than an A in english was when our teacher gave us an exam worth 50 percent of our grade that was a fill-in-the-blank test to memorize who said all of the obscure quotes from the five Shakespeare plays we had read that semester (all jumbled up together).
All of my teachers assumed I would study english or journalism in college, but when it came down to decide my major, I thought that reading and writing had always been simply a hobby of mine and I felt that I didn't need to study it in order to pursue it, I could always read and write part-time. So to everyone's confusion, I selected my major as biology. Although I loved science, I never was what I would consider gifted at it. I did immediately enter into honors biology in high school, and I got a blend between Bs and Cs. I then took honors chemistry, and I did very poorly. I didn't even take a science my junior year, but instead took both anatomy and physics the first semester of my senior year (so as to graduate early). I wanted to choose to study something I wasn't already good at, so that I could be better at more things. In hindsight, it probably would have been better to study something I was talented with so as to push me to improve...
I did love most of the things I studied while obtaining my degree in biology. As anyone who knows me can attest, I love birds most among any other thing I talk about, and I am passionate about science and the Earth. However, I have stayed working in retail long after graduation, and I can't seem to decide what it is that will make me happy. In my twenties, I have had the pleasure of being surrounded by new friends that are amazing visual artists, and I have developed a new obsession with tackling different techniques in visual art and harvesting any skill I have in that category. But what it all comes back to is what can I do that will make me happy to do every day, not only as a functioning career, but as a hobby that I love?
What it seems to ultimately end up as is the decision to:
- A. Focus all of my energy into creative writing and visual arts and somehow utilize that into a career, or
- B. Find a way to incorporate my love of sciences into the world of creativity, or
- C. Something else.
In a world full of endless possibilities, it seems to be asking too much of me to pick just one thing to love and to dedicate the rest of my life to. There has got to be a way to make a business out of my various obsessions.
To be continued...