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when_i_grow_up_become_architect_bannerI worked at Barnes & Noble for five years.  During that time, most of my friends also worked, or had worked at Barnes & Noble.  When we got together, we talked about the day to day, the crazy customers, the ridiculous decisions corporate was handing down to ruin our lives, etc, etc.  Then I got a job at tv station, and started hanging out with those people.  Naturally, we talked about tv station, so much so, that another friend, married to a co-worker, said that she didn’t want to hang around with us anymore because it was so boring for her.

Then at the end of a lovely girls’ weekend, my friends from high school told me that all I talked about was work, they didn’t care, and I needed to become interesting again.

Since those interventions, I have been hyper-aware of talking about work.  I realize that it’s inevitable, but absolutely do not want to be a one-dimensional person who only talks about my day-to-day rather than “real” stuff.  This was a particularly difficult thing when I was working at the call center, tv station, coffee shop, and doing very little else.  I wasn’t in school for the first time since I was six, and was working the most hateful job in the world, which left me feeling both angry and brain-dead.  I spent much of that period of my life writing angry blogs, sitting in silence, and feeling sick out of guilt for calling in sick all the time.

Part of the reason I picked librarianship is the variety that it presents.  Since no two days are alike, and each day involves learning something, I figure I can handle only having one job for once in my life–of course, I need to get that one job, but whatever, work in progress.  Even if my position does contain a lot of variety, and I do like talking about it, I fear that it will, inevitably, become all I talk about.  Most of my friends are librarians, and our conversations tend to veer toward the information sciences, but we do talk about other things too! Don’t we?

I haven’t blogged in quite a while, because I haven’t really had anything to say.  I’ve been going to work, coming home, watching LOST, reading, and running–it’s all pretty normal and not worth mentioning.  Naturally, this fills me with the panic that I’m becoming boring or regular, which has always been my fear, which is why I usually try to have too much going on.

I lack real hobbies because my hobby has always been having three jobs and having no time for hobbies.  It seems like everyone has their thing, whether it be gardening, or bird-watching, scrapbooking–granted, I wouldn’t really want to talk to anyone who only wanted to talk about those things, but it’s more the spirit of it that I’m after.  Most likely, I’m overthinking this completely. Often, when I’m having a good conversation with people, I cannot remember what topics we talked about.

The bigger problem is that when I’m not in school, I freak out.  If I don’t have a concrete goal, I feel like I’m floundering.  Even the other day when I was telling Jewish Friend about this panic and she reminded me that I have two jobs, a column, am reading for the Rhode Island Teen Book Award, and am a patron of the arts–all I could think was, she doesn’t get what I mean.

It’s an elusive thing because I don’t really respond well to long-range planning, but at the same time must have something to look forward to.  For now, I’m going to start listening to modern scholar lectures in the car again–starting with Unseen Diversity: The World of Bacteria, and hopefully this will work itself out.

My friend from cowboy-ski-pole country commented a while ago that she doesn’t understand how I manage to work 2 jobs, excel in grad school, read 100 books a year, and contribute regularly to 3 blogs. My first thought was: I only managed to get to a mere 100 when I started reading in May, and even then it was 108. Then I realized that that is a bit crazy, and I may, in fact, be an overachiever, and not even know it.

I always assumed that I can’t be an overachiever because I’m so laid back about everything. But as I reflect back to high school where I was required to earn 100 points on reading tests (this was the semester I took English III as an independent study because I ran out of other classes), and I managed to earn something like 300 points; I ponder the fact that I will have 2 Master’s degrees before age 30, and am still considering doing the dual program and picking up a third; and can’t help but notice that my library requests include practically the entire “Modern Scholar” series of audiobooks so I can brush up on everything from the history of Ancient Greece to important precedents in American legal history while I drive between jobs and home– I think I have to reevaluate my perceived overachieving status.

Don’t overachievers suffer gastrointestinal distress, or just distress in general? Aren’t they typically very pinched-looking and miserable, possibly causing their hair to fall out prematurely as a result of hyper-scheduling and perfectionism?  I’m not high strung enough to fall into that group, although I am often the victim of the gape-mouthed stare when I recount how I spend my time. I’m very torn on this issue, as is evident. Then I think about baby-having best friend (who says she had twins because she is such an overachiever), who I always considered the overachiever of the bunch telling me that I need to just slow down.

This revelation doesn’t change anything anyway, though it is a bit interesting– to me. Honestly, if I was that much of an overachiever, I would have come up with a synonym for overachiever by now so I wouldn’t have to keep repeating it over and over.  In the immortal words on Ashlee Simpson “I am me/ and I won’t change for anyone.” Now I guess I know myself a little better, and soon I’ll know more about Ancient Greece, important American legal precedents, dinosaurs, writing more persuasively…