My Five-Year Title

I am currently working through a variety of skillshare classes in order to learn how to make a more productive website and a better overall social media presence.

Today I am working through a class called Productivity with Purpose: Your Foundation for Success. I am going to do one of the lessons on here, which is “Your Five-Year Title”. This is a brainstorming lesson that looks at a wide variety of career opportunities an individual wished to or wishes to pursue.

What I Wanted

Childhood

I grew up in the 90s. My parents were at the precipice between the Boomer and Gen X generations and both of these firmly entrenched within their millenial offspring the fundamental concept that the world was our oyster, all the while, the world was falling apart. So, while I was still naive and hopeful of the coming years, I dreamed of being an Archaeologist, a Paleontologist, a Vet. I distinctly remember watching documentaries on Otzi, the Ice Mummy in my grandparents house, fighting over a massive green velvet pillow with my cousins. They didn’t care. I gave up the pillow to watch this grainy video footage of this beef jerky looking figure carefully extracted from the glacier.

Most of what I wanted to do with my life came from watching documentaries. Watching what other people did. I didn’t care about becoming an astronaut. I wasn’t given access to video games, so becoming a game designer didn’t show up. Art was cheap and accessible, that and library books. That’s where my exposure came from. Where I got compliments and praise from. Otherwise, I was just another girl. Raised in a religious school, I wasn’t allowed to play with boy toys there, and legos/kinects/technics/and stem toys were too expensive for me at home. Though I did have a hefty collection of My Little Petshop toys. Beanie Babies came in around the age of 8 or 9 for me.

Museums were my world. They felt safe. They explained people. They explained society. The things that people fail at explaining for themselves. They gave me clarity, an overarching explanation, snapshots, nuggets of information that could launch me on the path to discovery I could find in a library. It was what I had. It was what I could reach out and touch.

In the end of it all though, my childhood crumbled when my dreams were smashed on the floor like a Ming vase. Archaeology, curators, paleotology, those careers, they don’t pay. I would be in debt for the rest of my life. And no one wants to be with someone in debt. With a girl who plays in the dirt. I should focus on careers that made money, put me in air conditioning, didn’t I want to be a housewife and raise a bunch of children? Wouldn’t that be the most fulfilling thing?

Teenage Years

I wanted to be so many things at this point. I had been shifted out of religious school to public school, talk about a rude introduction to the realities of life. Also, Fuze TV. Tattoo Artist was way up on my list, followed closely by welding. I wanted to do large art installations. Or custom autobody painting. But those weren’t real art. Those put me in the same field as “tradesmen” (to be read in a sarcastic sneering they-are-lesser-tone). That being a woman, those jobs would guarantee that I’d be passed over for career advancement and that I would just be asking to be catcalled and raped. That the chemicals in those industries would make me infertile, and didn’t I want children? Yeah. You read that right. Talk about another set of dreams cracked like a Classical Greek marble bust.

Ok. Ditch the trade skills. I’ll circle back. I’m older, how about Archaeology again? No, the cost for college wouldn’t work out. So, I need to look at job prospects knowing that the ratio has to make my education worth it? Yep.

International Trade? Translator? Mangaka? Antiquesties Acquisition? Lawyer? Neurologist? Expensive. You’ll hate yourself. You’ll hate your job. You’ll hate working for the people who will want perfection. You’ll never see an 8-5 job. You won’t have time for family. Who will be at your funeral when you grow old if you don’t have a family? Your children will hate that they never see you.

College

Freedom! Well, sort of. I moved out and away, so I figured I could really explore me. But, by now, filled with anxiety and the deeply rooted need for a glimmer of career approval, I fought like mad to get my degree in Asian Art History and Asian History with a goal of pursuing Antiquities Acquisition for museums and private collectors during my first year. I had gotten married to my high school sweetheart who turned into a major jerk. So, goodbye $20,000 scholarship and honors college. I moved back to my home state, and enrolled into the close university to get a degree in hospitality management. I had a vague idea of running a bed and breakfast at that point. Yeah, about a month into that idea, I switched into geology. There was a paleontology path, but it was a subpath under petrology. I loved it. Honestly, I wanted to go further in it. However, I was running out of time at that program had to be done in a very exacting manner and I was already racking up student debt, as I was want to be informed.

When I couldn’t get the classes I need to graduate on time without having to take an extra two years of study that my student loans would not carry, I switched paths once more. I pulled together every Asian Art History class and Asian History class I could find to make my own Asian Arts Degree. At this point though, I had found someone else, someone who treated me right, and had their head on straight. I graduated and became that thing that everyone else had wanted from me: a housewife with a kid – because, honestly, it made better financial sense to give up my career aspirations. And neither of us were grown up enough to be able to walk away from our parents to live the life we wanted. Student loans are scary.

Post College

Dissatisfied with the mess I’ve made of my life, I sit here, going through Skillshare classes, hoping in vain to find something useful to do with myself. I had made the bargain that we’d have a kid before I went back to get my Masters so that we wouldn’t be in our 30s and set in our patterns and having a baby. 10 years on, the student loans paid off, two cars paid off, and a house refinanced down to a lower rate with 15 years before its paid off, and financially, our life is working really well. It’s safe. It’s what everyone wanted for me.

Life isn’t a video game, and I have 35 more years to live a career before retirement and I feel like I’m wasting it waiting for my turn to finally do something with myself. But, didn’t I do something with myself? I became that thing I was supposed to be. If I upheave this whole rose collored shiny picture of our life, that will put us all in a financial bind. The world doesn’t play nice with people who do that.

I’ve tried desperately to be able to have a career from home. I live way heck and gone in the middle of nowhere with no access to an academic library, no access to creative outlets that meet my desires. I am floating in an empty sea, and I feel empty inside.

Webcomic designer, blogger, freelance artist, author. I’ve tried these. I like doing them as hobbies, but jeez I hate them as career paths. The most fulfilled I ever felt was writing up an academic paper, giving a presentation on it at a conference, and getting it published in a journal. That felt right. That felt like heaven. That was glory and accomplishment and success and all the things I was told at five that I could have because the world was my oyster and I could be an astronaut or a vet or anything I wanted to be when I grew up. Except for this, that, the other thing, and literally anything I was ever interested in doing.

I looked at doing CELTA and teaching English in Japan, in becoming a travel blogger, of going back to school to do Law because I took a practice LSAT at hit a 152 without studying. But I don’t want to teach children what a run-on sentence is. I don’t want to micromanage legalese for companies. I sure don’t want to be a court lawyer.

Here I am. Floudering. Trying to become something, anything. Trying to reach for that fulfillment without ruining my family’s life. We have a good one. One that’s safe. One that is secure. One where if I had absolutely no motivation towards self-improvement, I’d probably be happy at doing. I’m sorry. I’m not digging at people who love being housespouses and raising kids. I personally hate it. It drives me crazy. I feel like a trapped house pet with very little to contribute. When my self esteem comes from achieving academic goals and not from being pretty or baking chocolate cakes every Friday, being a housespouse feels very much like being a wild parrot caught and sold to a pet shop.

What I Currently Want

I want to be a professor. I want to go and teach people about history and art and society. I want to show people how trade during the Meiji era and the Impressionist era affected the art market and the development of graphic novels and the whole establishment of manga and anime as a full fledged genre.

I want to go back to school. I want to get my Masters degree and my Ph.D. I want to go live in Japan and have access to first hand materials where I can conduct proper research. I want it so bad it hurts.

But I know I need to account for where my spouse can work. I need to know where I can enroll my kid, because he can’t speak the language. I need for them to have stability. In the end, going on and getting the career I want so I can feel fulfilled really breaks down to how selfish I want to be with not just my life, but two other lives. In the end, I don’t know what to do. And I’m approaching 10 years of standing still in a flowing river, unsure of where to go with my life.

I wrote and published 5 books since then, but that isn’t my goal in life. I don’t want to be some famous fiction author who published 1-3 books every year with a traditional press and my name in every book store. I like writing fiction as a hobby. I like drawing as a hobby. I like telling stories as a hobby.

I want to contribute to the preservation of human history. To look at why people’s actions of the past have led to the current experience and seeing where it is going. I just don’t want to destroy anyone in the process.

RT @chapelorahamm: I can’t wait to read what happens next in The Kavordian Library! – #scifi, #fantasy, #webseries #books

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Chapel Orahamm View All →

I am a writer and artist working through the Kavordian Library series. I write sci-fi, fantasy, lgbt romance.

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