Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cheer Up, Emo Knitter

This is Poncho Pig. He paid for my college education.

OK, it wasn't quite that simple.

I've literally had Poncho Pig as long as I can remember. He was a gift from relatives, although I don't remember which ones. I also don't know who gave him his name, but it stuck.

Through out my childhood, we fed Poncho Pig spare change. Mostly it was money from selling aluminum cans and change we found on the ground. (Finding change is a sport in my family.)

When Poncho Pig got full, we took out the money, counted it, took it too the bank and deposited it into my college fund. Come to think of it, I don't know why we counted it when they just put it in the coin machine and counted it again when we got to the bank. I think it may have been some sort of stealth math lesson.

For years I thought my college fund consisted solely of money we fed to Poncho Pig. Of course, my parents were putting a lot more money into the college account than spare change.

Poncho Pig has been through a lot. I dropped him once and we had to glue him back together, and he's been to Florida and back. But I haven't put any change in him for ages.

I don't know if my parents intended it, but I'm realizing his presence throughout my life has been very symbolic. Poncho Pig was the physical manifestation of the expectation that I would go to college. And college would be this wonderful happy time that would set me up for a wonderful happy life.

I did go to college, my parents did pay for it (with help from Poncho Pig) and I did graduate. And while there were good times, there was also a lot of tears, failure, disappointment, illness, dropping out, dropping back in and five years later I graduated ready to become a newspaper reporter. And three years after that I hated my career, and realized I didn't really have the skills to do anything else.

And where am I going with all this?

A couple of weeks ago I found a copy of Facing 30 at Goodwill. At first I thought "30 isn't old" and then I thought about some of the things I had been thinking about and picked it up.

It's not so much just the number 30 itself. Or the fact that my 10-year class reunion is in jeopardy because my classmates are too busy getting their PhDs or graduating from prestigious law schools to organize one. Or the fact that my one year of telemarketing/Lead Generation is probably more of an asset on a resume than my BA. Or the realization that people my age are doing "grown up" things like buying houses and having families. It's all of that together and more.

And whenever I read it this book, I find sections that make me think. "Yes! This is it! This is me!" And then I feel sad because I think about all the disappointments I've experienced since I graduated from high school.

The book talks a lot about the pressure of societal expectations, the reasons why the challenges of my generation's 20s are so different (and maybe more difficult) than the previous generation's 20s, and trying to redefine our lives.

And it all reminded me of what a friend told me last summer when we were having a heart to heart talk about life, and the future. She said something along the lines of "I'm sorry, but he American Dream is all a big lie."

Poncho Pig is the physical manifestation of American Dream in my life. I have to redefine Poncho Pig.

Emo enough for you? Maybe I should go back to posting fluff from other blogs.

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1 comment:

Jane Doe Jenn said...

I turned 30 last year; I found that as my birthday was coming up, I started thinking about a lot of things that I didn't think would have bothered me before that. But I also realized that I had so much to be thankful for.

There are a lot of people who are educated for careers they no longer desire, and end up using their credentials as a means to explore new opportunities. A friend of ours has an Honors degree in Arts (I think he majored in history) and that helped him get his foot in the door of a major company, that had absolutely nothing to do with what he took in University. They gave him the training he needed for his new job, but said they liked to hire educated people. Not sure if that helps any, but it sounds like you have great skills that could be used in a wide variety of careers, including teaching. You could find a dream job writing for a yarn company, and get free yarn to boot! That would be cool!

I didn't hear about my school having a reunion, either. I think many people are just too busy for them, now.