I had drinks last night with two friends from college. I'll call them Top of the Corporate Ladder Girl and Saving the World Girl. We're recently reunited here on the East Coast, and it's a beautiful thing.
On the way home, I was thinking about how the three of us are living proof that all the things they tell you are so important in college--focus, direction, a serious and disciplined approach to THE FUTURE--don't really matter at all.
Here's what I mean: take Top of the Corporate Ladder Girl. She didn't exactly spend her college days attending Future Business Leaders of America meetings. By her own admission, it was a bit of a struggle simply to remember to wake up in the morning in time for English Class. Part of what made her such a great friend in college was that she somehow remained utterly unfazed by all the pressure, and knew how to celebrate the little stuff that happened almost every day. And now, she's hugely successful in her field, so much so that she has a full arsenal of skills for hiring and firing not just people, but entire branches of her company. If I had any skills whatsoever (aside from bumbling into situations that make for interesting blog posts and memoirs...) I'd be begging her for a job, because I bet she's fabulous to work for.
And Saving the World Girl: she's a mover and shaker at the highest levels of corporate giving. She has her finger on the pulse of the Boston Philanthropy Scene (who even knew there was such a scene?), and has miraculously parlayed her left-wing, hippie upbringing into a job where she gets to travel the world AND legitimately make it better. She's like Robin Hood, only everything she does is legal. I'm telling you, the girl's a genius, even if she left our graduation with no idea where she'd go next.
Then there's me. I knew from second semester freshman year that I was going to be AN ATTORNEY (not a lawyer, but an attorney...sounds more important, right?) Yeah. Three years of law school and three years of practice, I realized that I HATED billing my days in six-minute increments more than I hated algebra (which is a serious level of hate, trust me). So I quit, went back waitressing, back to grad school, and back to dating guys who obviously weren't Mr. Right, just to have some semblance of a Mr. Right Now...you get the picture. Not exactly the stuff colleges brag about when sharing their alumni news.
And yet now we're all doing great, and discovering that we still have a fun bond that makes girls' nights well worth planning, despite our crazy schedules. That counts for something, right? It makes me wonder if, for all the things the world tells us we MUST do to succeed, it might be worth considering the possibility that we don't have to do them at all?
In salute to this realization, I'm crossing "Organize closets" and "buy scented candles" off of my to-do list, and trusting that somehow, my life will still turn out okay.
(I expect to hear from my alumni director any minute now, begging me to pretend I went to a different school :) )