I don’t actually have a lot of regrets about my life. Mostly, things have gone remarkably well for me. Oh, sure, I probably should have paid more attention (or at least a little attention) during algebra class in the 8th grade. That whole, “No, thanks, I don’t do math” thing was definitely a bad choice. And I think it was probably wrong to let my kids go out the door without making their beds. You should see their houses now. Yeesh.
But other than those little things, I don’t really regret a whole lot about the choices I’ve made.
Even so, sometimes I think about the “what ifs”. Sometimes I imagine what my life would be like if I had chosen another career path, another job, another way of defining myself. Sometimes, when I’m tired and a little down, and I’m doing some mindless task (like filing corrected work or collating the math packet), I start to imagine myself in another place, doing another kind of work.
Wouldn’t it be cool, I think, to work as a biologist or a chemist or a geneticist, or something? I can just see myself, in my white coat, with my safety goggles on. I’d be standing in a climate controlled lab, and it would be VERY quiet. There’d be no one to argue with me. No one there to ask me questions. Just me and a few tiny, restful microbes.
Or maybe it would have been better if I had decided to become one of those interesting, thoughtful anthropologists. I would have been really good at that job! I’d be the kind of person who everyone likes to have around at parties, because of my impressive intellect. But at the same time, everyone would know that I was a person who dug up old dead bones for a living, so no one would expect me to have even the most rudimentary of social skills. I could have friends around when I wanted them, but without all the pressure of asking them about their own lives or laughing at their jokes. If I walked out in the middle of a conversation just because I wanted to read a magazine, no one would even be surprised.
And I bet I would have been an exceptionally successful telemarketer. I’m a pretty good talker, so that part would have been easy. But I wouldn’t have had to actually be in the same room with any other humans, so I wouldn’t have to even try to look presentable. If I was a phone sale person, I could make up an extremely cool name, and a back story to go with it. I could call people up, totally at random. Then I could say, “Good afternoon! My name is Angel McCloud. How are you this evening?!” Or I could drop my pitch and add a little bit of hoarseness, and I could say, with a very slight Southern drawl, “Mornin’, Ma’am. My name is Mayleen Esquire? And I just want to take the tiniest little bit of your time?” Then I could lean back in my cushy leather chair, prop my Dansko’s up on the desk and grab a Hershey’s kiss out of the basket while I talked the poor rube into answering the latest Quinnipiac Poll.
I think I’d be real good at that one. All bull doody, no real effort.
I guess everyone thinks that things could be easier “if only”. I’m sure that just about everybody everywhere thinks that they would be a whole lot happier in a different place or a different time. I guess I’m just being silly to think that other jobs are less disheartening and are worthy of more respect than mine.
But still. As I tack up the latest art project at 5pm on a rainy Friday, I do have to wonder if I would have made a good bacteriologist.