I have been getting headaches every mid afternoon for the past few weeks. At first I thought I was just dehydrated, as a result I drank so much water I thought I was getting a UTI with all those trips to the lav. Self medication followed; IBUProfen, Advil, Tylenol, Motrin, some oddly shaped green pills I found in the bottom of my purse that turned out to be stool softeners (an unpleasant surprise). Yet the headaches persisted.
After consulting the ever unreliable WebMD, I had myself convinced these headaches were a telltale sign that I was, indeed, with child. Oh the panic. Never have I been so happy for Mother Nature to visit–a long 48 hours later.
The next logical theory was to assume I was allergic to my job. Since graduating college and experiencing the 9-5 pace, I have repeatedly mentioned that desk jobs are bad for one’s mental health. It would make perfect sense for that to spill over to the physical well-being. Unfortunately, the only remedy for sitting at my job is not having a job, which is quite unrealistic considering that a) I’m an English major with loans and b) the job market is not exactly overflowing with opportunity.
Apparently higher education is the answer to this conundrum. Not only are employers now demanding Master’s Degrees, but post college students are becoming increasingly disappointed and bored with post college life, resorting to graduate school to further postpone sitting at a desk job. As my friend Galen puts it, “It’s what all the cool kids are doing.”
I admit the idea of grad school is very glamorous. I could quit my job, write, stay up late, and say impressive things like, “Why yes, my thesis on Hamlet’s internal conflict because he is in love with his mother is going quite well, thank you.”
Yesterday I received an acceptance letter to a decently celebrated graduate school in Pittsburgh to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Non-Fiction. While it was all very exciting to read an admission letter boosting my ego, it was also fairly alarming to have an actual choice. Suddenly not having a mindless desk job was just as frightening as having one. I suppose this is what corporate America does to you. The risk of losing a steady paycheck and healthcare can be paralyzing. A real dream killer.
This year after Christmas, Austin and I will pack up our things (again) and migrate south to Harrisonburg so that he can finish up some prerequisites for medical school. This means my current job is coming to a definite end and the next move is wide open. I should be ecstatic; yet now that I have this big, fat opportunity for change, I am plagued with indecision and concern. What if I am in grad school and get a toothache? No dental insurance. What if I hate my classes and want to drop out? Massive waste of money. What if I actually do become…with child? Little Timmy lives in daycare and probably becomes a crack addict.
Perhaps all these little insignificant worries are accumulating into one massive headache leaking out like a tooth abscess every mid-afternoon to remind me that I am a bit lost. I’m not sure. What I do know deep down is that everything will be just fine. I have many options, some left unlisted, and support network that will smile and nod along with most any choice. It’s just a matter of choosing. Such is life.