My office is under construction. The windowless beige room in which I’ve spent the last year of my life, doing downward dog at 11am and mostly seeing and speaking to nobody in person, is being demolished. I’m sharing a room with a coworker while my new office is being constructed, and this morning, I realized I’m living my childhood dream.
As someone who spends a considerable amount of time analyzing her life choices, this realization caught me completely off guard. I think this message from my past self was probably a product of watching Looper last night, though I can’t be sure. I can be sure of something I’ve said before, though: I believe in Fate with a capital F.
During a moment I had to myself between taking part in an extremely important conference call and teaching my boss how to copy a slide from one PowerPoint document and paste it into a new one, I stretched my legs, tried to understand the unexplained and unforgiving dull ache in my chest, thought about smoothies and stared at my new space. “The ability to multitask” is on every job description; also, in case you were wondering, my temporary cube looks like it was accidentally inspired by a dog-eared Pottery Barn Teen catalog from 2000. Photograph my workspace, send it back in time, and make my middle-school-self want to jump straight into her idea of the real-world in the fashion of a romantic comedy (or A Kid in King Arthur’s Court).
I interrupted my own moment and remembered the part of my life plan that came after college and before “live on a farm with six children and pigs”: Live in Chicago, be a “businesswoman”, save money so you can live on a farm with pigs and six children and not have to worry if your career writing and illustrating beautiful and meaningful children’s books isn’t internationally recognized until after you’re dead.
Oh my goodness, I think I’m living according to the plan.
I wouldn’t exactly call myself a “businesswoman who makes a lot of money”, but if a seven-year-old said, “Are you a businesswoman?” I would most definitely reply with a confident, “That is exactly what I am.” I work for a major corporation in a “stepping stone” position that seems to fit the same purpose my childhood-self prescribed. (I was seven when I made the plan.) The dull ache started to burn, and I haven’t stopped thinking about the opening line to the speech I gave to the entire school in October of my senior year. The word “labyrinthine” was in it, and it was about unexpected turns leading to self-discovery.
Two days ago, I watched a stranger with eye makeup too perfect for 7:53am listen to Taylor Swift so loudly that I felt like this girl was cheer captain, and I was on the bleachers. Three years ago, I was chaperone to three ninth grade girls at a Taylor Swift concert because I was cooler than anyone’s mom. Tonight, I’m getting my hair cut for free, and yesterday, I watched a girl cry while pretending she was laughing. She had a stud in her nose and a book in her hand. Her headphones were in, but she wasn’t listening to anything, just scratching her knee and believing she was believable.