When I was growing up…
“At 3 we are already encapsulated,” I think to myself.
I had just arrived home after hanging out with my closest friend. In real life. (And I had actually said to her that night, “I have such good friends. On Facebook.”) And I was (in real life), sitting at my desk, reading comments from friends on Facebook. And the comments I was reading were from others who I had gone to prep school with and so I began thinking about my education.
From the time I was young, I was always so fixated on Zero and One. And Three. And Two, to a lesser degree. Three much more often now. Not to sound like a numerologist. It was just that numbers held a certain fascination for me and math was easy. So when I finally went back to college to get a “real” degree (after an earlier go when I studied classical piano), I chose math as a major. I had wanted to double-major with English because I had this idealistic notion of getting a good understanding of the two basic ways we communicated as humans, but since it was in a different college, I had to choose. Math seemed logical at the time. English would’ve been more practical. Then I could wow you with awesome sentences rather than stumble through them, uncertain of grammar but certain of fuckery along the way. And make just as much money. Plot and character development? Uh. May. Zing. It would all be so very nice, I feel certain. One thing’s for sure, you and I would be in a much better place right now.
Anyhoo (as I would never say but others do), I remember nothing from math. I slid through as a C/B student, doing what needed to be done. I loved discrete mathematics. But that was really it. Linear math was cool, but discrete was just fun. It made me feel good. I really would like to study more math. I really should. Not in some driven to insanity kind of way. That’s more academic than what I’m thinking. Plus academia requires tweed and I only have plaid. Plus there are too many shiny objects in the world. And two reasons are enough. Wait, that’s three. No, I just think it’s interesting and there are things I would like to better understand.
But why did I go to college at all? Because with a degree, I could do important things. Or be somebody. Or something. I would be skilled in a profession. Math? Yeah, that’s been useful. The thought of being a statistician nearly made me want to hurl when I was in college.
But that degree… it did take me far in a world filled with cubicles. I even graduated from cubicles to what I considered the pinnacle of my “professional” career: a corner office with glass walls overlooking the Charles River in Newton, Massachusetts. Looking through the glass when it snowed, it was a storybook scene. There was a stillness in the world. The river would freeze over and the ground (and every stick of life portruding from it) would be covered in shimmering white snow. A sky of solid gray.
“This is a good life,” I would think.
Getting a college education was important when I was growing up. It wasn’t even really a thought, really. That was what you did. You went to school, went to college, went to work, put money in your 401K, retired at some age that you couldn’t even picture yourself living to. In fact, I think my objective in my senior quotes was to become a tax lawyer. I had been told they made a lot of money. And why on earth would I do anything else other than go to college and get a degree and make a lot of money?
Of course, now, I’m not anywhere I thought I would be. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not bitter or anything. Not at all. I don’t feel misled. I wasn’t. A degree put me on a professional path which would’ve been very difficult otherwise. I made the decision to leave the professional life. I made the decision to live whatever creative life this is. No, it’s not that I’m bitter.
It’s that I wonder if life is still like that for youth today? We really need to evaluate education today and make sure we’re on the right path. The choices we make affect future generations. If we’re to evolve as a species, we need to make sure the species is on the right path.
Anyway, I think about us. I hope people are doing things.