You may recall a post I wrote about the tiredness of being asked what one does? Oh well, your loss.
Anyway, the other night, The Mister and I were chatting about how we ARE those poor unfortunate souls who have liberal arts degrees. (Or rather, we will be, when he finishes.) You hear about sad saps like us all the time, the ones who are unskilled and overqualified, virtually useless? The ones for whom student loans make no sense, because our degrees will never pay off? The ones who waste our potential on our passions instead of something burgeoning with career growth?
We are those people.
“Joey. JO-EY. Like the baby kangaroo.”
“Oh! Haha! Nice to meet you Joey. What do you do?”
“I run the household.”
“Oh. What does your husband do?”
“He works and goes to school.”
“Oh, what does he do?”
“I don’t know. He does it at work.”
“Oh! Haha! What’s he studying?”
“What’s he going to do with a degree in history?”
“I don’t know, but tomorrow he’s going to mow the lawn.”
Oh yeah. I am the life of any party.
So now, in addition to being asked what I do, I encounter a new question I have come to hate even more, “What will he do with a degree in history?” I guess it hasn’t occurred to a lot of people that one can get an education merely for the sake of education.
Having gone through this myself, I always feel slightly amused. I won’t name names, but a number of people have told me I have wasted my education. The basic message has long been that anyone can be a mom, but I have a degree, I could be so much more! Which, if you’re me, translates into how neither motherhood nor myself are enough. One could easily conclude the only reason to get an education is to increase one’s earning potential.
Except, it’s just not. My biological parents have both been bewildered as to why I don’t teach, but either they’ve accepted it or given up, since neither of them bother me about it anymore. My stepdad holds my all-time favorite position on this matter, which is, “I didn’t send you to college to be a teacher; I sent you to become a better version of yourself.”
It’s a bit strange when you think about it.
Do you play golf? For money? No? Well then, why do you play golf?
Why even let your kids play instruments or sports if they’re not going pro? Instead of sending them to camp or on a cultural exchange, you should just send them to a factory where they can make some money!
So, toward the end of this conversation about our inconsequential fields of study, I said, “You know, no one said to Emerson and Thoreau, ‘Hey, what’re you gonna do with a liberal arts degree? What a waste of a Harvard education!’ Or do you think people did and they were like, ‘Imma go live in the woods –‘”
“DELIBERATELY!” we said in unison. And then we laughed and laughed.
From this day forward, when anyone asks me what I do, I shall tell them I live deliberately.
Who knows, maybe one day they’ll put a sign about me in our back 40!
Are you living deliberately? Do you take pleasure in the pursuit of knowledge?