When I Grow Up Again


I’ve been on a brain exercise this week pondering, once again, what I might be when I grow up. It seems ever more like a perpetual question with me.

I’ve had some thoughts about putting Hushpuppy into daycare for one or two days a week starting early next year after she’s two. I think she could benefit from the social interaction and there is a daycare literally steps from our apartment on the property of our complex. It’s just calling her name. Child free days would leave me with more ladies-who-lunch time than I’d know what to do with, so I’ve been wondering if it might be a good opportunity to go back to school. I’ve been particularly thinking about doing some sort of technical degree at TAFE (Technical and Further Education).

I do, indeed, already have a Master’s degree (and the student loan debt to show for it) and little interest in pursuing a PhD, at the moment, so going back to school seems, in a way, like a bit of folly. But, as I’ve talked about here before, I haven’t found my Dramaturgy degree to be overly useful in Sydney. When I arrived four years ago, I quickly discovered that there was exactly one person in the entire country with the full-time job equivalent to the one I had in the States.  Now there are two … maybe even three by now, but honestly, I’ve fallen so far out of the theatre loop that I don’t know. Freelancing was frustrating and pretty fruitless for me. And, even if I could find work, a life in the theatre with its long hours, late nights, and need to be constantly attentive to the industry is not very compatible with my primary focus, which is raising my daughter.

For awhile now, I’ve been seeding a thought about going back to school for library sciences. I have an inkling that field might suit me, though I haven’t gotten to the point of doing enough research to be sure. The other day, however, Partner-in-Crime and I were having a blue sky conversation about this school idea. I want to open up my thinking. More and more, we are considering home schooling Hushpuppy, so it could end up being a number of years before I return to work. With that in mind, I start to entertain the idea of studying something just because it interests me. It’s an exciting proposition to open up the world like that. We knocked around some ideas, but rather than thinking of endless possibilities, I’m having a surprisingly hard time thinking of what I might study just for the love of it. P-i-C suggested something to do with learning theory, as a complement to home schooling, but I thought that sounded like a PhD that someone – someone who isn’t me – might do over the course of many years. I came up with some vague idea of something to do with food or nutrition, easy on the science, thank you, though have no idea what that would translate into in terms of an actual course of study.

Maybe my dream job is in here somewhere...

Maybe my dream job is in here somewhere…

I spent last night trying to get inspired. I pulled up the TAFE site and searched for all classes currently offered at the three closest campuses to where I live. There were over a thousand classes I could take, and yet, I finished my perusal with no “aha!” bursts of inspiration.

“Scaffolding!,” I’d shout at P-i-C. He just looked at me quizzically.

“Eyebrow waxing.” I tried. “There ya go,” he muttered.

“Arabic?”. Nothing.

“Maybe I should study bookkeeping,” I ventured with sincerity. That got his attention.
“People everywhere need bookkeepers.” I’m not sure if it’s the fact that this is supposed to be an exercise for fun or the mediocre job I do at handling my own money, but his look suggested that I go ahead and move along from that idea.

I came away from the list uninspired (except for a potential career in scaffolding, obviously). I’m not sure if I’m not creative enough or if TAFE just doesn’t hold the key to my marvelous future. So, the dreaming and scheming continues. I’m open to inspiration. What course of study would you pursue if it were just for your own edification? Or would you?

Watch this space. You’ll be the first to know if I ever grow up.

10 thoughts on “When I Grow Up Again

  1. Amy

    Way back a million years ago as an undergrad, I had a job in the university library doing book preservation. For half a heartbeat I considered an MLS (to complement my nearly complete BA in theatre at the time) because I so loved preserving books. It matched my interest in literature with my interest in art and had a certain hands-on aspect that really appealed to me.

    Now, book preservationists might be about as common as the Australian dramaturg, but still, it’s a thought…

    1. Cristin Post author

      That sounds fascinating to me. Yeah, probably not “in demand,” but I do actually have access to people here who work as archivists from my historical society days, so something like that might be at least worth a conversation.

    1. Cristin Post author

      Haha, Yvette! Yeah, I also didn’t mention that I scraped by accounting in college with a pretty middle of the road B and almost didn’t graduate from nearly failing Managerial Finance, so even if it were a hot job, probably not the thing for me.

  2. Samantha

    Lol. Love this post. I can soooo relate! So many choices yet so hard to decide -and/or find something truly appealing. I personally think working in a library would be awesome! I actually worked 4 years of college at the library and really enjoyed it.

    Other ideas for you – you may enjoy a creative writing course?

    Just for fun – here are some ideas of back to school I entertain for myself; education (obtaining a teaching qualification), psychology, library sciences, nail tech (so I could be nail artist – not just a tech) … well that is about all I can think of for now.

    Good luck in your quest to be a grown up friend. 🙂

    1. Cristin Post author

      You’d be good at all those things! Funny how we can see what we think other people would be great at, but hard to figure it out for ourselves.
      I’ll have to talk to you about your college library days. Library science is still high on the list.

  3. Christie Wilkin

    I’m a bit late entering this discussion, but I second Samantha’s suggestion. Taking the Professional Writing and Editing Course at the CAE (Center for Adult Education) in Melbourne was possibly the best thing that I did for myself in Australia. I’m now debating what to do with myself once I get all four kiddos settled back in school in Pittsburgh.

    1. Cristin Post author

      Sounds interesting, Christie. I feel like I have a lot of writing courses under my belt, but nothing quite like that.
      Will look forward to following your next adventures!

  4. Sherry Robinson Svekis

    Hi – I got hooked into your blog thru Jeff Plunkett and I’m loving it. I’m 20-30 years beyond your journey, and have only read a few of your posts so far, but I recognize many reactions, questions, pondering about children, life, travel, the world and our place in it. We did at one point think of moving to Australia; we were there for a month with kids age 5 and 8 back in 1996 in the midst of a 3 month journey around the world. We loved the difference in pace from the States. Many happy memories!

    But I was inspired to write because I decided to go to college when I was 48. DH and I had a very successful career in book business, sold said store at exactly the right time, went round world with kids, moved, homeschooled for a few years since daughter was a full-time tennis player, and then decided if I were ever to go to school, now would be the time. I kept looking at college catalogues for “they always need those” jobs – accounting, legal assistants, etc., but quickly would end up at the lists for English Lit, History, or Anthropology. I had an epiphany that I was having the exact same discussion with myself that I had at 18 – I loved English and History but didn’t want to be a teacher, so never went to University. I decided to follow my passion and take my chances. I got a double degree in history and anthropology and have never regretted it. I have had to work to make the study itself into a career; I cobble together heritage education, historic preservation, archaeology projects. but that’s mainly because I didn’t want to go on to graduate school or start at a grunt job with a local firm. (I was 53 after all, and had been a successful business owner, so was spoiled.) What it led me to as a real paying job was through learning grant writing to fund my history/archaeology projects, I developed a very marketable skill. You just never know your path until you fall into it.

    So, if your passion is library science (which I also would have loved), I say go for it!
    All the best,

    1. Cristin Post author

      Hi Sherry, what an absolutely love comment. So nice to hear from you, and any friend of Jeff’s is a friend of mine! It’s very helpful to read about your journey and be reminded that it’s not too late to start a second career, and that it can fit with raising a family and the rest of life. Thank you for sharing that, and thank you also for reading. It’s lovely to “meet” you. 🙂

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