Hi, my name is Caeli and I’ll be honest, I’m still figuring out life. To be brutally honest, I’m still figuring out what to put in this article.
As I sit in my pj’s and cat slippers I wonder. Are we all doomed day after day to uncertainty? Do we ever have life ‘put together’? When, please tell me when, do we get our A+ in success?
And last but not least, when the fuck will I win the lottery?
Weather you are questioning college, the right career, or what to name your pet fish, i’ve been there. I didn’t go to a fancy university, my credit score is in the red zone…for the moment, my car trunk won’t close, and I definitely don’t know what my future holds…I’m not a fortune teller. You may be thinking “why should we listen to her?” Slow down. I’ll get to your answers shortly.
The status quo is a messed up version of survival. It’s a grocery list of steps to get in order to check out in the end. Go to high school and get ridiculed, don’t worry that’s just a part of childhood. Go to college and figure out your life’s meaning in 4 years. Graduate and find the career of your dreams. Meet a partner that meets all of your and your family’s standards, who never makes a mistake. Marry that perfect robot, and never argue because you’re perfect angels who don’t have sex or talk about having sex. But, magically, tada-your children appear of of the mystery box!
They are so beautiful you cry. You make so much money you retire. You live on a tropical island and drink margaritas as you die without regrets.
Well, so far, that isn’t the kind of status that I have achieved.
College was a requirement, rather than a choice for me. Never fitting into a crowd brought me from college to college. Working full time, then going back to school. My college counselors repeated, “you need to pick a major already!”, that was my 3rd year of college. I found a college that understood me. I graduated with a Liberal Arts Degree with an Emphasis in Elementary Education, whatever that means. Thousands of dollars in debt later, I was applying to masters school because, “that’s what you do”. The day I moved off campus, someone stole my bike and I got a call: “your mom has lung cancer”.
There is a spot in our lives where we feel hopeful in our choices, fearful of every moment, and self-assured that somehow we will make it through. My mom was the one trying to make me smile from her hospital bed. The next year was filled with hospital visits, surgeries, patience, tears, silence and a lack of income.
I struggled with difficult decisions, like how could I take care of my mom and work, and will I make a grilled cheese or order pizza? Mmm…Grilled Cheese. I was still pulled; do I sacrifice income to take care of my mom? So, do I go and buy the next biggest T.V. like a good ol’ American, or do I skip the job and take care of my dying mom? Pretending like everything was fine at home became my new hobby. Put together families make an income. And put together families find a job and somehow that makes everything perfect again.
By the end of the year, my mom left the hospital, cancer free and one lung. I went from a few jobs to keep myself alive. One I got to stare at glass dolls all day and wonder when they would attack me next; I was a secretary at a history museum. And the other, I got to get every illness in the book, as a teacher. Have I won the Lottery Yet? Does half of the world put on an ego mask when they say, ‘I know what I’m doing’, just so they cover up their embarrassment? The grey circles under my eyes and lack of sleep told me this was not the put together I was searching for. If this was how you got an A+, then fail me, I’d rather live. With determination and the will to not give up, even when shit hits the fan, we can start to see a pattern to our lives. I had to step into uncertainty in order to grow, and get some sleep.
Once in my new teaching position, I cried seeing how kind, understanding and supportive this community is. That’s what I call an A+. People finally start valuing me, believing in me and actually seeing me. I am told how great of a teacher I am and I get to play with goats!
I can visualize a realistic future within my reach. I am starting to see my “failures” as ways that I am growing, and actually mean it. I am starting to forgive myself for not always being “perfect”. I am starting to let life happen. I am starting to see that I can change my life at any time, if I want to.
Others perception of success does not define you. What life looks like is up to you. If you go against the status quo, what’s the worst that can happen, you go live with your mom? Well, for some of you, that may be the worst option. But, the point is that everything is temporary. You shouldn’t make yourself feel guilty for having desires. For standing up for yourself and saying, this is not right. When others get upset, it just means they haven’t gotten to your level right now. Maybe that is the life for them. But, that doesn’t mean it is your life.
Now I am sitting here in quarantine during the corona pandemic. What will happen to our future? Does success really matter when our lives are at sake? I am thinking about all of us, how can compassion and empathy bring us together in order to save our species? Will we learn the importance of family by being forced to rely on each other? Why are we so focused on winning the lottery when there are much more important things at stake? Will we learn from this mistake, or continue to kill our neighbors?
If you ever wondered about your existence, that means you are existing. I heard that in a philosophy class once, and since philosophy is so not indecisive, you know it has to be true. So, if your sibling told you you were adopted, or if you ever question if you are a robot…then you probably are. And if you find patient zero, let me know ASAP.