Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Deadhead That Never Was


Growing up, I always looked to my television idols for advice. Sure, I could ask my Mom questions about the future or go talk to a guidance counselor- but why bother when I could look to the likes of Joey Potter & Mary Camden? (Please tell me I'm not the only one who still thinks of Jessica Biel as the preacher's daughter with a hint of a lesbian vibe from 7th Heaven.) I was comforted by the idea that it somehow always worked out in the end for my teenage TV cohorts. No matter what trouble they got into, things always turned out kind of great. I foolishly believed real life would follow suit. Unfortunately, things outside of the television screen are a bit messier and full of loose ends and unanswered questions than script writers and executive producers would have you believe. In the real world, your entire group of friends most likely didn't end up attending the same university. And upon graduation, you'd be one in a million if you wound up with your dream job/dream boyfriend/dream four bedroom rent-controlled apartment with the snap of a finger. It just doesn't work that way.

I've recently been watching one of my favorite shows again on Netflix. (I won't say which show because I'm about to spoil the ending in a second.) A big life decision one of the main characters ends up making at the end of the series has always intrigued me. Instead of going to college or riding off into the sunset with a boy, this character instead becomes a Deadhead. (Now a few of you probably know what show I'm talking about.) For those of you unfamiliar with the Cherry Garcia flavor of Ben & Jerry's- a Deadhead is a hardcore fan of the Grateful Dead that follows the band around on tour. This got me thinking- why isn't this a viable option now? Or, more to the point, why wasn't this a viable option when I graduated high school? I mean, I'm not really into the Grateful Dead at all. But what if this same kind of "Deadhead" phenomenon existed for our favorite bands? What if we could travel around the country, trailing Tegan & Sara or the Foo Fighters? I, for one, would do it in a heartbeat. Or at least I like to think that I would.

That's the thing though, isn't it- these options that don't really seem like viable options for the future are actually possible. When I was 18-years-old, I was so by the book. Everything I did was what was expected of me, due, in large part, to my "people pleasing" nature. Of course, all of my decisions were my own, and I wouldn't be who I am today without them. I've just always wanted to succeed in something. Which is why the future always read "college, job, promotion, promotion, promotion." I don't have anything against that, even today. I just can't help but wonder what would have happened if, instead of following some sort of unwritten plan, I packed up and became a Deadhead (or a Foohead, as the case may be.) Or locked myself in my room and wrote a novel. Or popped out a kid or two. Or went to law school. In some ways, I feel nostalgia for choices I never made.

There is this huge part of me that feels like I chose everything wrong- like if I could do it all over again, I'd pick completely different things. But then I get this overwhelming fear. And the one thing I know for certain is that I couldn't give up the "me" that my past decisions have created. I couldn't give up the friendships, the experiences, the mistakes and the laughter. Given a chance to change it all completely, I don't think that I would. It's been a hell of a windy road to get here, but I'm finally finally finally starting to feel like the "me" I'm supposed to be. I know that's a whole lot of cheese right there, but it's true. All the blunders, the student loans, the tears shed over missing my parents... I just have a sneaking suspicion it's all going to be worth it. Don't you? I guess, more than anything, I'm finding my way back to the inner-kid in me who still holds out hope; who still foolishly believes in happily ever after; who believes in making a wish at 11:11; who wishes for things far beyond her reach. Somewhere along the way, I don't know where or how, but I lost my blind optimism. And I miss it. So... I'm taking it back. On this Tuesday morning, I choose to believe it will all work out. It has to, right? Otherwise, whoever is executive producing my life is doing a really crappy job.

(Still, given the opportunity, I really would like to become a Foohead or a Teganhead or whatever for a year or two. Just putting it out there... If anyone has any connections. You know where to reach me.)

13 comments:

  1. Exactly...I watched 7th Heaven, Boy Meets World, My so-called life, and all the others and I'm still waiting for my Tv show ride off into the sunset or shut the lights off to a better future ending. It doesn't work that way but even though I may not be a deadhead as I'm getting older and experiencing the true me I go to the concerts, I try out new hobbies, I turn that other corner and I realized that if I didn't make the "by the book" choices like you've mentioned I doubt I'd be who i am today. It is all "worth" it and I find myself seeing how these TV Show writers took real life occurrences and then of course added the it works out spin but started off with a real life issue and I still find comforting that other people experienced the same feelings of being lost. I lost myself so badly in my early twenties, but slowly I came back a whole truer to myself person. Don't give up your optimism and your dreams...maybe not every day, but some days are going to rock so much that you can't help but be happy.

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    1. Oh my god. Seriously, thank you for understanding me on so many levels. & thanks for making me feel like I wasn't the only one who grew up getting lost in TV :)

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  2. I completely understand this feeling. I have a map of all of the choices I didn't make in my head, and where they may have lead me. But in all honesty, I'm happy about who I am now, and where I've end up. If I had made those choices, I wouldn't be here.

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    1. Exactly!! It's like all those mistakes, every confusing moment was worth it. Otherwise you wouldn't be you!

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  3. Recently found your blog, and am so inspired by this post. It's nice to know that everyone wonders "what if" in a sense. I have a great moto recently "everything works out as it should", because usually it does. I usually look back later in life and wonder why I doubted my life at the time. :) great words!

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    1. Oh my goodness, thank you so much! It means so much to me to hear that things I write actually affect people in some way.
      I feel the exact same way! Sometimes you just have to let go and "let it unfold."

      xoxo

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  4. High five, senorita! I had a similar realization last summer - I was going into my sophomore year of college, had picked the "right" school, the "right" major, the "right" friends, everything was going swell...until I picked up an internship with what I thought I wanted to do and everything seemed to explode. If I didn't want this "dream" job anymore, what if my school was bogus too? My friends? My LIFE?!??!!?! I saw in my underwear in the middle of my bedroom floor and thought my life was falling apart. It took me a few weeks, but then I realized that, hey, this was awesome - I figured all of this out and can always change things. Now, I'm still with the same major, but picked up two minors that will get me to where I want to go, have similar friends but with different priorities, and have basically decided the same thing as you: it'll all work out. Eventually. Somehow. Which way. Ish. Cause, you know, it's never too late. Or some schmaltz like that. :]

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    1. First and foremost, can I just say how much I like it when people call me senorita? Like, it's my favorite.
      Also- YES! I love that it seems like everyone has at least a few of these "HOLY CRAP! WHAT AM I DOING?!?!?!" moments in their lives. And in the end, we are able to come out of these experiences with some sort of clarity. And hope. Always hope :)

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  5. I really loved reading this post - there's a definite appeal to running off and just living, not working to live, just living. If that makes sense.
    I figure there has to be a nice balance though, somewhere, of working hard in order to succeed but enjoying life and living it to the fullest at the same time! I for one have decided to say YES to everything I want to say yes to - so in other words, I don't want to do drugs and steal from people and be reckless, but I DO want to walk home with friends at 2AM instead of taking the bus, go tobogganing at midnight, try the ghost pepper challenge with friends, etc. etc. Because why not?

    Great great post, very thought provoking !

    xo
    http://kittysnooks.blogspot.ca/

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    1. OMG. I love that idea of saying YES to everything you want to say yes to. My friends and I did that a few years ago- I kind of ended up being a tiiiiny bit too reckless. But it sounds like your version of saying yes is WAY smarter. I think I might have to try that out again! Oh, and I just Googled the Ghost Pepper Challenge. HOLY CRAP. If you do it, please let me know. And get it on camera haha.

      Thanks girl!

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  6. "In some ways, I feel nostalgia for choices I never made."

    Oh, Carmen. It's kind of amazing how much your writing resonates with me. And yes, Jessica Biel will always be Mary Camden to me.


    http://viennawaitsblog.blogspot.com/

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    1. Aw thank you, Sierra. That means so much to me.

      xoxo

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  7. If you're running off to be a Teganhead, I'm totally going to join you. My favorite band since my sophomore year of high school! This was really beautifully written. You're so funny that it's extra poignant when you have something more serious to convey.

    I definitely understand what you mean. So much of college for me was spent figuring out what I wanted to do, and in the end, the degree I got was totally different from what I actually wanted to do. I met someone and winged it and moved in with him and next we're moving to either Germany, Sweden, Texas, or Virginia, but that decision is 100% in the hands of committees at Universities, not mine or his. I think this is going to be my favorite choice that I'll have made, and it's definitely one of the biggest "could-be mistakes." But I'm really excited to do something not exactly by the book, after graduating early from a practical BA!

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Thank you for taking the time to comment! It's lovely hearing from you :)