Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Life I Really Wanted


My major in college was journalism. For those of you who have peeped my profile, you know that I work in the field of education at a university in Development & Alumni Relations. It pays me a good salary. Over the years, I've been able to support a wife and a daughter, purchase a house, maintain an automobile, and eat three squares a day. Occasionally, I've been able to clothe myself and even have a little fun. In a nutshell, my life hasn't been bad over the past several years and if you were to ask my family, I don't think any of us have ever wanted for anything that we really needed. However, I am not living the life I really wanted to live though. Let me explain...

I had two loves, sports and music. When I was studying journalism, I had two career paths that I wanted to take: (1) I wanted to write for Sports Illustrated. I saw myself in the locker room with Jordan, taking notes after he hit the winning shot to take his sixth championship and send the Utah Jazz packing. (2) There was no VIBE Magazine or anything closely resembling it to cover black music in the 1980's so, I dreamed of writing for Rolling Stone, the hippest music magazine around at that time. When VIBE and the SOURCE finally did emerge in the 1990's, I was already married, a home owner, and working in a field completely different from what I studied for and wound up paying for (years and years of student loans).

I could've been covering Tupac, Biggie, (my homeboys) The Roots, Jill Scott, Jay-Z, and Nas at the beginning of their careers and getting free tickets to concerts, music seminars, and the whole nine. That was the life I dreamed about and that was the life I really wanted. Somewhere along the line, I must have just given up and stopped trying. I know that once out of college, I started sending my resumes everywhere and nowhere and I got nothing back. I hounded all of the local newspapers and television stations in the area. Nada. I also needed cash really quick because I had to start paying those "pesky" student loans back. I went into survival mode and did what I had to do to save my credit rating so that when and if I found someone to marry, I might have a shot at getting a house.

Let's just say LIFE got in the way and my entire focus went in a completely different direction. I continued to write for awhile... fiction, poetry, and even current events. I have several binders
with everything I wrote from a certain period in my life and then, I just stopped. The joy of writing just died for me. I figured that I wasn't going to make a living at it so, why bother.

Blogging (and by the way, this isn't another post about blogging), at least, rekindled my love of writing. I can see it because I'm writing a post for this blog everyday and then, rolling over to my other blog and knocking out a poem or a short story like it's nothing. And, I don't seem to be showing any signs of hitting that brick wall called "writers block" yet. This new medium seems to have given me part of the life I wanted.

Don't get me wrong... I'm not saying that I don't love the life I'm living. I'm happily married, got a family, and living the American dream (or at least, the Negro American dream). But, I'm not living the life I originally wanted for myself. Half of the people I went to college with are doing something completely different than what they set out to do as well. It just makes me wonder sometimes, why bother? Why can't we put off college until we at least have a realistic idea of what we can or might really do? Sometimes I feel like I wasted the government's money. (I know... I'm saying that now, right?)

How many of you out there have ever felt the way I'm feeling right now (i.e. that you're not living the life you originally envisioned for yourself)?

21 comments:

Opinionated Diva said...

Sometimes I feel like I could be doing more...but I'm not sure what "more" is. At the same time I'm somewhat content.

When I was a kid...I honestly did not have dreams about a career. Sure I wanted to be a dancer, maybe a lawyer even...but I wasn't serious about doing anything except getting out of the hood.

Going to college after high school wasn't even a thought in my mind. College was too long term and I needed to be out on my own yesterday.

Many years later, I did go to college, but the reality is that I have been very very lucky to talk my way in to getting jobs that probably should have went to other more qualified people...persistence and drive go a long way - so if you really want to write professionally, keep writing your poetry and your short stories. It's never too late.

Keith said...

@OD- Thanks for your encouraging words ,they go a long way. really.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that you current life is not all you had hoped for but I not surprised case nobody can be as happy as youpretend to be all the time

Keith said...

@anonymous- I'm not unhappy..I just said that I didn't do what I originally set out to do in life.
I don't spend every waking moment dwelling on it. I'm sure that if you ask a large section of people,
they will tell you the same thing.

Thoughts of a Southern gal said...

Anonymous, go play in traffic.

I feel the same way. I'm not living the life I envision and it makes me mad. I wish I could say I'm content but I'm not.

Anonymous said...

Yeah well, if you are I available

Raven said...

Keith, you are right...there are plenty of people out there doing something that is a far cry from what they wanted to do. Every since I was in the 4th grade when a chilren's author visited my school I knew I wanted to be a writer. I work at the U of Houston and one commencement ceremony a 67 year old graduate student gave the best speech I have ever heard (excluding Obama speeches). He spoke of getting married young and having to put college on hold to care for his young family. He went on to work in the oil and gas industry and did well, but wasn't happy. After he retired he went back to school...then grad school. He got his PhD in History. His whole speech was to the young people graduating with BA/BS degrees. He told them to "follow their bliss". It was such a beautiful speech and when he finished people gave him a long standing ovation...which is odd because at commencement all people want to do is hear names called. He also said that it is never too late!!! So remember that when you are pimping your pen...it is never too late!

Raven said...

Ooops...I spelled **children** wrong.

CurvyGurl said...

Keith, I can relate big time. It wasn't until this year that I started seriously considering leaving the field I'm in to do what I think I'll enjoy much more.

Like OD, I'd like to encourage you to pursue your love of writing...your talent is undeniable. Sometimes God has a way of steering us in a different direction to reach our ultimate dreams and goals.

Anonymous said...

has the wifey read this post yet?

Keith said...

@Anonymous- Yes she has..but it has nothing to do with my decision to marry her, I would have still done that..This deals more with my career path...She might be married to a successful journalist/novelist
instead of an Educator. She understood perfectly what I was talking about.

Angie B. said...

Keith I know what you're talking about..I spent years in Law school
only to realize that I hated it..that I was doing it for somebody else (My Parents) Like Raven, I followed my bliss and am now doing something I chose to do.
Apparently your anonymous poster didn't read the post. Things like reading, writing and spelling passed them by..I'd feel some kind of way about that.

OG, The Original Glamazon said...

Keith,

Now you know I am MOST certainly not living the life I envisioned myself, however when you have a degree in English ( or journalism or communications) I think what you can do is MUCH larger than one can imagine, the ability to communicate especially written communication is the foundation and building block to many a career.

I kinda look at what I do now as a pleasant surprise. I mean I like what I do a lot but it really isn’t my passion but the pay check and work make it easy for me to live this non dream out. I often joke and say no one ever hears a little kid say I want to be a Business Analyst when I grow up.

I would love to do some many things that I can’t say waiting for school would make sense for me, I mean after all the older I get the more things I am exposed to and might decide I want to do. Me I am ok that my work kinda found me or grew into a career that I like. But I feel you 100…so many of us are I a different place than we imagined, but for me I wouldn’t trade where I am or how I got here for anything.

-OG

blackgirlinmaine said...

I'm really feeling this post, sounds like my life. LOL Seriously its not that my life sucks, its just I am not quite doing what I thought I would be doing when I was making my plans years ago. That said, the work I do is meaningful and helps people (grant-writer/non-profit consultant) so I am happy to make a difference.

However like you, blogging has gotten me back to my first love of writing.

By the way thanks for visiting my blog, life is crazy these days so I haven't been making my rounds as much. :^)

The F$%K it List said...

I am living part of the life I always envisioned. I've always wanted to work in finance, and VP at 30 was my goal and I've done that.

But I also wanted to start my own personal organizational business, and I've yet to find the time to write out a real marketing plan, find the money I would need to start and the clients. I don't regret too much but I really always thought that at this age I wouldn't be only working for someone else.

But I guess it will all come in good time.

I love reading your writing so maybe you should submit your resume, and blog url to some of the blogs like huffington post and gawker.

SLC said...

I've alway been a homebody, but after traveling with Virginia Union University's concert choir and fronting the jazz quartet on trumpet, I thought my life would involve more traveling the country and giggin'.
Back in the 80's I was 18 and playin with older more established musicians. I've been HAPPILY married for 14 years now, while all of them are well traveled and divorced. I still hope to resume my music career, and just bring the wife and four kids along.
For the record, I am happy, but I'm still reaching.
Alright bro, see ya at midnight on Escapades.

SLC said...

And one more thing. I'm glad you ended up here. From a distance I'm impressed and a little jealous of how you paint vivid pictures of life using the same 26 letters I struggle with. I'm 41 now but in four years when I'm 45 like you, I hope to have learned even more about the gift of writing through this and Escapades.
Thanks for the mental escape and the written art.
Appreciatively your,
SLC

R. Fitzgerald said...

You know, I have been here a time or two. I have a pretty good life, but I'm not satisfied, that's for sure. I'm constantly striving.

Interestingly, I was on my college's alumni site and realized a lot of people are unhappy. Not really doing the things they set out to do despite attending one of the top schools in my home state. The difference is that I'm still going for it. I'm putting myself out there and allowing things to happen. Can't stop, won't stop is the motto I live by.

Moanerplicity said...

i used to feel this way at one time, especially when i compared myself to others & seem to falled short in my own dreams & ambitions. i don't think its healthy to compare your life to that others... unless somehow their lives INSPIRES you to reach higher, think bigger or do better for yourself. to me, if you're loved by someone, if you get to live out some of your passions, & you & your loved ones are healthy, then you are Blessed.

the rest is gravy.


Snatch JOY!

one.

James Perkins said...

Beleive it or not, I wanted to be a
Lawyer...but as fate would have it, I ,like you got sent into an entirely different direction. I work in Finance now in the banking
industry...a faw cry from the law career I originally wanted.

Shanita Waters said...

Hindsight is something else, isn't it? I don't think it's easy for the majority of society to know what they "really" want to do until they've experienced it. For instance, I wanted to be everything from an accountant, to a lawyer to a social worker. At one point in time, I've majored in them all only to end up once again being an accountant. Sure I could have saved a lot of the governments's money going to school but it was only until I was able to "sample" all of thoe fields that I got a better idea for what I really want to do.




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