Thursday, September 16, 2010

Better Than You!

I always make a point to be friendly to bus drivers whenever I get on the bus. Yesterday, I got on the bus and said "hi, how are you?" to the driver. He looked down at my bandaged hand and said "better than you!"

Now, don't get mad at the bus driver. He said it with a smile and actually in a nice way (believe it or not). He waved at me to sit at the front of the bus and then went on to ask me how I had hurt my hand and told me his wife had trouble with her wrist too. He was just making friendly conversation.

But here's the thing: he was totally right.

He was doing better than me. He was smiling and making friendly conversation. He had music on in the bus and was grooving a little bit at all the stoplights. He was driving a bus in circles all day and actually seeming to really enjoy it. The bus driver was happy.

As for me, I had hit snooze button for literally an hour and a half that morning before being able to pull my already exhausted and seriously achy body out of the bed. I barely had time to eat three bites of cereal before I had to go to my first class, that not a bone in my body or a brain cell in my head was interested in attending. I gritted my teeth through an hour-long debate on the merits of ethanol for the hundred millionth time in my academic career (corn-based, no; cellulosic, maybe. Same as last time.)

Then I had four tubes of blood drawn for my doctor's appointment the next day (though thank goodness for Favorite Lab Man, who can draw four tubes of blood without any pain or leaving any mark!) I had gotten on the bus to go work on citations and grab a bite of lunch before heading to a three-hour long policy seminar that would last until 6:00pm in a room that was usually way too warm, for which I hadn't done a single word of the reading. I was feeling totally miserable.

While I ate lunch I totally ignored the citations I had meant to work on and thought about the bus driver's joking comment. When was the last time I felt happy?

As I thought about it, I realized I actually feel happy quite a lot. APL and River make me happy every single day. My friends make me happy. My sister and my mom make me happy. My cousin and her daughter make me happy. Traveling makes me happy. Wedding planning makes me super happy, and I still feel a little bit giddy every time I look at engagement ring.

I realized that the problem isn't my life, per se, but my "career" - the things I force myself out of bed to do every day and the "path" that I am on. When was the last time that made me happy? I can't  even begin to remember. I know I wasn't very happy when I actually completed my J.D, which I didn't expect at all. And I remember feeling lost and unfocused about my path over six months ago - have I made any progress since then? Not really.

I am going to finish my Masters in Stubborn. I am going to graduate with my two fancy degrees in December. But after that? I need to do some serious thinking about what I want to do with my life.

But I have made at least one decision: someday, I want to be as happy as that bus driver.


Nessie said...

I came to the same realisation not too long ago. Like you, I made the decision to do something about. Good luck finding something that makes you happy! (And I mean that in a non-sarcastic way. When I read back over it, it sound totally sarcastic to me.) Working in a career that doesn't make you want to groove along in your seat is completely draining.

~Mariah~ said...

Thanks, Nessie! Best of luck to you too! ~;o)