RESPONSES I RECEIVE AFTER TELLING SOMEONE I HAVE MY MFA IN CREATIVE WRITING AND WORK AT A COLLEGE ADMISSIONS OFFICE

  1. Enjoy it now, the world awaits.
  2. My grandson is currently holding auditions for a trophy wife.
  3. If you work at a non-profit organization for over 10 years, the gargantuan debt you unwisely and unnecessarily burdened yourself with will be forgiven.
  4. Awwwwwww.
  5. If you take your MFA off your resume, employers will actually call you back for an interview.
  6. You’re tall. Have you thought about modeling? Someone has to wear those shoes in Payless commercials.
  7. My condolences to your parents. Do you have any siblings that show promise? I’d hate to picture your parents crying themselves to sleep at night, trying to convince themselves that you are actually adopted.
  8. I’ve heard that exercise helps with depression.
  9. I have some extra food in my fridge that expired on Sunday— I’ll bring it in tomorrow.

G:

Sometimes I wonder if I should have been a landscape architect.

That’s what my career aptitude test kept telling me in elementary school. Even after I retook it. Eleven times.

Except that I have no desire to plant shrubbery and also I hate bees. Bees are outside. And they fraternize with shrubbery.

I remember telling a teacher in the third grade that I wanted to be a writer. She responded, “No, really. I’m serious, M. What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Today, people ask me what I do for a living. I tell them I have a master’s in writing and also work in Admissions at a college. I see them sniff and waft the air, as there must be something in my scent that gives off the fact that my kitchen cupboards are naked and inevitably I’m asked over for dinner.

But there are probably worse degrees, right? Like Philosophy. Am I even really here? Is this blog even real? If someone writes a blog but no one reads it, does it even really exist? Or, history. Wars. And dictators. With moustaches. Writing at least has transferrable skills like… the ability to write. With a pen. Or on a computer. (Versatility!)

You remember what that one guy said in response to my job and degree, right? “Enjoy it, the world awaits.” Gee thanks. Pretty sure I’m already living in this world. With a lot of debt and nothing but a gallon of milk in my fridge.

But he’s right. By the world’s standards. To the world, I got a fun degree and am in a fun job where there are petting zoos on campus during reading day (it’s true). I’m not “there” yet—I haven’t embarked on the path to success yet. I’m in a holding pattern, I’m waiting on the runway, not yet taken off to reach the heights of the status quo.

I know I’m guilty of it. I’m guilty of wanting that job in a glamorous place, with a glamorous title, and a paycheck with multiple zeros before the decimal point and not after. I’m guilty of tying my worth into my degrees, into my job title, into the world’s standards of who I should be. Heck, I’ve never even put on Facebook that I have a master’s and where I work.

I’m guilty of thinking I’ve failed.

I know you heard me crying on the phone when I called my mom complaining about the four pennies I have stored up in my savings account.

She reminded me of your truth.

You don’t ask me to be successful. You ask me to be faithful.

My worth is not tied up in what degree I have or don’t have. My worth is not tied up in the title I have or don’t have at work. My worth is not wrapped up in the place I live, the car I drive, the numbers that show up on my direct deposit into my bank account. My worth is found in You—in who you made me, as your child that you created with certain gifts for a certain purpose (Jeremiah 29:11).

To you, worldly success means nothing. To you, my faithfulness is everything.

Your child,

m

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