Ok, no more oven beeping. Much better.
If you came for the cookies, by the way, feel free to skip my introspective blathering and nip down to the bottom. Today feels even more weekend-y than usual, because yesterday I worked--a prospective student fair for the university I work for. It was, to be honest, pretty fun--I like chatting with high school students about what they hope to do in the coming years, answer their questions, talk up the cool points of the program I work with.
Most of these students were bright, pleasant folks--some nudged forward by over-eager parents, some snapping up every brochure they could find in their own excitement. I asked all of them what they hope to do, so we could tailor what we talked about to what interested them.
And I'm still bothered by my reaction to one young woman. I asked what she hoped to do, and she replied that she wanted to study creative writing.
Now, my professional demeanor didn't change--I directed her to chat with the right folks at the fair, and congratulated her on finding her direction so early. I gave her a brochure on our program in case it sparked any interest (you can never have too many sparks going into your last years of high school). It was my inner conflict that startled me. The writer in me said "Yes! You go, girl--follow your dreams!"
And the pragmatist in me said "OK, let's hold on a touch and talk about what you hope to do after you spend four years on a pretty unmarketable skill."
That pragmatist is such a bitch.
I realized that this isn't about this girl--she's still got a couple years of high school ahead of her, and then that pivotal first year of college that, for many people, changes everything. And I hope she succeeds at whatever she chooses to do. This is definitely nothing against the non-career-oriented degree programs out there, by the way--not in the slightest. I don't believe school's purpose is something to sludge through in order to get a job. Nope. It was about me, and still having no confidence that my non-career-orientated goals are worthwhile.
That I can take pride in sewing a fab historical garment and researching the heck out of it. That I can spend hours writing and call it developping my art. That I don't have to plow through a career path that I may or may not actually enjoy--and that my ambitious, driven side can take a backseat once in a while and learn that success isn't always measurable in job titles or salary increases.
So, a bit of musing on a Sunday afternoon. I still don't have any answers for that young lady I met yesterday--just, perhaps, to really think about what you want your life to be, to know that you're allowed to be an artist with a crappy day job or a career-driven professional with an artistic hobby. That you probably can't be both. That you don't need to study writing, or sewing, or music, or cooking, or whatever your passion is, in order to make it something you enjoy your whole life--and that you have to accept the risks of making an art your career. That you get to keep changing your mind for a few years...before college...during college...after college...pretty much until you die.
Because obnoxious introspective, self-involved blogs go better with cookies, my gingersnap recipe! This is the closest I can get to the gingersnaps my Grandma Ruby made. By the way, they're not really "snappy"--more soft.
Grandma Ruby's Gingersnaps
Preheat oven to 350.
Beat 3/4 butter and 1 cup white sugar.
Add 1 egg and 1/4 cup molasses. Add in 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Add 1 tablespoon ginger, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground clove.
Roll dough into balls (about a spoon's worth--use less than you think you need, they spread out) and roll in white sugar. Place on baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes.
Let cool a couple minutes on the sheet--they're very puffy and fragile right out of the oven--and transfer to a cooling rack.