The secret to happiness is letting your dreams die

I just found out today that I got a promotion. I feel kind of weird about it, actually, because I'm really happy that I got the promotion, but I don't especially love my job. It's one of those slightly boring, customer service oriented jobs that mostly involves nodding and smiling and a little bit of problem solving; nothing a fairly intelligent monkey couldn't do. I have a uniform, and when I go shopping at lunch people frequently mistake me for a flight attendant, which I guess isn't a bad thing.

Washed out work selfie. Good hair day!

Washed out work selfie. Good hair day!

But I am strangely, fiercely protective of my job and my duties. I really hate it when people don't respect the rules that I'm required to enforce, which happens about 20 times a day. I get frustrated when people don't take the time to listen to what I'm telling them, particularly since I'm usually answering a question that they themselves have just asked me. I'm shy, bookish, not good with people; how did I end up becoming someone who just spends all day, every day interacting with the public? I have a serious case of resting bitch face, and yet I wound up in a job where I constantly have to keep a positive, welcoming expression on my face.

Life is weird, guys.

And the strangest part is that I'm actually ok. I'm not having an existential crisis or planning my escape. I spent my entire life thinking that I was going to be a writer, planning on being a writer, and even though I'm in a job that I only happened into, that fulfills absolutely none of my intellectual requirements (but which, I should mention, pays really, really well) (thank you, The Man), I'm really happy.

I feel like I've read so many narratives about people leaving corporate America to find their passion, to pursue the thing that really makes them tick, and finding that even though they had financial difficulties and life was hard for a while, they're just, like, so much happier doing what they love.

That's great, I guess, but I don't know if that's actually realistic for everyone. That's the problem with stories - no one tells the boring ones. My story is boring. When I was seven I finally learned to read well, and all of a sudden it was easy, and I realized that I loved books. I decided that I was going to be a writer. I was that girl who walked around with my head in the clouds, always reading, always scribbling story ideas in a notebook, convinced at any moment that I would be attacked by warlocks and the magical talents that had thus far laid dormant would emerge. That never happened (... at least not that I'm telling you), but I did write for the school newspaper, and enter essay contests, and write short stories and spend a lot of time dreaming about being on the New York Times bestseller list.

And then I graduated from college at the height of the recession and couldn't get a job in the publishing industry to save my life, even with a brother who writes for newspapers and had a list of contacts for me to reach out to. So I took the jobs that I was offered, ones that didn't require me to be anything other than pretty, friendly, and semi-competent with some kind of basic computer interface. Despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that I think a lot of people are kind of stupid, I'm pretty good at what I do.

I take pride in my ability to correctly pronounce foreign names, often to the delight of someone who has never heard their name pronounced correctly on the first go. I like knowing where things are, and being able to tell a confused person how to get from point A to point B, which is funny because I have a hard time remembering left and right if I don't think about it. I like knowing what someone needs from me the second they walk up to the desk and seeing that little flash of "are you psychic or something?" flicker across their faces.

Mostly I just like making enough money that I'm not worried all the time. We didn't have a lot of money when I was young, and after my parents divorced, we didn't have any. When I moved to Chicago for school, I was on my own, not just physically and emotionally but financially. I've had a lot of issues with my student loan debt, and I still remember the humiliation I felt when debt collectors started calling my work. That just fucking sucked. I wasn't just poor, I had managed my poverty in the worst possible way, and everyone that I worked with knew it. 

If the choice was being a writer and being really poor again, or staying in my kind of crap job and having plenty of money, I would take the money any day. Maybe some day I'll look back and feel like I've wasted by life by not pursuing what I love, but shit, that's what hobbies are for. That's what this is for.