I have done the same thing for over seventeen years. I guess one may say that I have a career. In my life I have taken two careers, with short jobs along the way. I worked at being a waitress, once. It didn't last long, because I would tell the secrets of the kitchen. I shared with the diners which dishes to choose and which were being sold as fresh, but were days old. I would not eat it so, I didn't think anyone I was serving should. That job did not last long. My first job at seventeen, was at Burger King. After school, I would get my homework done, then hit the subway for Manhattan. The process of getting a job in New York City, was strange to me, because I had only just emigrated to New York the previous year. In Jamaica, I would have been put to study for hours on end in order to get one of the limited spaces in university.
I was not aware that New York was supposed to be a scary place. I did not think twice about getting on the subway at three in the morning from work, to go back home to Brooklyn. It was only after I had left the Burger King job that I came to realize that I might have been in danger. I thought I was invincible. I thought the world was a safe place, so I never thought of danger. Throughout my early working years, I stuffing envelopes in an office, and took a job as a care minder to an autistic child which I did not stay in for very long. The mother wanted me to feed what I thought was unpalatable dishes to her daughter. I did not understand browned mashed ripe bananas or apples, because in Jamaica, browned fruit was bad. I did not understand being asked to serve meat that smelled as if it was going off. I was not allowed to change the food, so out of sympathy, I quit the job. It never occurred to me that the job of child minding usually fell upon immigrant women.
I finally landed a job at the Department Of Sanitation, NYC. I was a clerk in the contracts and procurement department and got promoted to assistant supervisor in the payroll department, where I got up at four in the morning, to catch the subway to get to work for seven o'clock and worked until three o'clock. I attended Pace University, majoring in Fine Arts, then transferred to FIT. I was pretty naive then. In many ways I think I still am. But I worked full time and attended school full time. That was the only way I knew to pay my way through school without getting a student loan. Of course, school ended quite late and I would be on the subway, home by nine o'clock, to homework, sleep and start the journey all over again.
During my years in New York, at sixteen, I had no clue what I was doing. All I knew was that I was getting a career, like everyone else. I knew what I wanted and would spend my time dreaming of the life I would have. I dreamed about having two children. I thought about how I would become an actress at first, then later, a great fashion designer. Nowhere in there did I see love and marriage. I was sure that I could take on the world and a career singlehandedly. Although I did not think I was working hard, I worked hard for my dreams. I believed that I would accomplish my vision. I was in high school where I saw the possibility of a life I could have and being in New York, I realized that I could create the dreams portrayed in the movies and the books I read as a child, in Jamaica. Failure was not my reality. Somehow I was blind to the fears and worries of my contemporaries both in high school and in university. I knew that as long as I could work and dream I would accomplish what I wanted.
Finding the sweet spot in life for me was like The Fool, depicted in the Tarot. The fool starts on a journey, holding a rose to his nose, his belongings tied up in a kerchief, on a pole and his faithful dog by his side. He is oblivious to the danger of the precipice before him. I wandered through the world like The Fool, taking on challenges that came my way. I have a dream. I have accomplished much. I have the two children I dreamed of. This came with two marriages and divorces, however. But marriage was not a part of the equation. I have no ambitions to be a millionaire, my ambition is and have always been to work to find a home that becomes a sanctuary for my many interests and for those who end up at the door seeking refuge for a time. This requires money, which I have worked hard for. I have followed a road that I actually see before me. That leads to the golden door of my dream home.
Finding your dream means you have to have a dream. One cannot search for something that one is not aware of. I did not have a dallying moment where I was unsure of what I wanted. For a young person who is struggling to find something to hold on to, the woman just starting over, I suggest finding a dream. A home, travel, whatever it is, find the dream that fills you with longing and then go after it.