Remember when we were little, when we were fresh out of third grade, we would M.A.S.H and map out our husbands and careers by drawing spirals with pencils in our green soft covered marble notebooks? (Pens were for older kids, and even if we had a pen we would never use it because if we messed up or didn’t like our futures, we couldn’t change the results; we would have to waste another page. But with a pencil, you just erase it and start all over.) Remember the times when we would check the bumps when we bent our wrists forward like Spiderman and the creases on the sides of our writing hand to see how many kids we’d have in the future. Or the times, when we would trace the lines on our palms to see if we had an M for money and a long, continuous life line.
When we would dream about prince charmings, and mansions, and two kids – one boy and one girl, and flying to the moon on a big bad starship, and we would tell our parents. And our parents would tell us that we could be whatever we wanted, instead of telling us that NASA has no funding and no job availabilities. Instead of telling us that our dreams aren’t practical for this economy. That girls can’t hide away in forests or towers with their animal friends and wait to be rescued. That the first guy or the second guy or the third guy they meet isn’t going to be the one. That even after 8 years of grade school, and 4 years of high school, and 4 years of college (if you’re lucky) and dozens of meaningless standardized exams, and millions of As and gold stars, your 5 year plan can still turn out to be nothing regardless of whether you were sticking to your dream or financial stability.
I spoke to my uncle this past Christmas and he told me that I was born in a selfish generation… and I think he’s right. I feel the pain of no free wifi and 12% battery life while my uncle lived less than luxuriously through World War II. It’s not a fair comparison, but it speaks a truth. They had no choice. I do. And I’m choosing the stars over financial book keeping. My dream and my uncle’s dream come from two separate realities, but it has been said that parents try to live vicariously through their children, giving them all the things they didn’t have themselves. I’d like to think the right to choose is one of them.
I’m only 19 and if this choice is a mistake I know God put me on this planet not with a pencil to map out my future, but an endless supply of ink and a fountain pen so that all I can do is turn pages, keeping every cross out, every MASH, every plan that didn’t work out with futile attempts at improvement squeezed in between the margins. This isn’t third grade I can’t erase my mistakes and pretend they never happened.
And that’s okay, because after a while pencils go dull.