The Defiance of Being Smart
I’m going to start with a side bar. I’m sure there are hard core literary rules against that, but eh, whatevs. I debated WAY too long about the title of this post. Would people think it was arrogant, overly ambitious, cocky to call myself smart in the opening line? I even contemplated putting an “…ish” on the end, like my intelligence would be less offensive if I watered it down some. And then my superior mental acuity kicked in and I thought “Fuck that shit. Smart is my jam!”
Now that we’ve fully dissected the title…
I just turned in my final paper in a year long certificate course. Prior to this adventure, I can’t remember the last time I wrote anything longer than a consult note. But over the past year, I’ve written three 25+ page dioramas with charts and wireframes and Executive Summaries. Oh how I loathe an Executive Summary. I’m pretty sure my graduate thesis wasn’t 25 pages and that took two years!
Why, might you ask, did I elect to go back to school AGAIN (let’s not talk about the useless letters piling up behind my name) while working a full-time travel job? At the time I enrolled, the company was on my ass to do some “career development”, they paid for it, and I got a free week in Boston. ‘Nuff said. But, as I navigated changing time zones to get to class on time, frantically finished homework in airports, and locked myself in my office in 2 hour increments to bang out another 25+ pager, I realized that the honest answer is because it kept me moving forward.
“Moving forward” is a concept any smarty should know well. It starts in elementary school when they peg you for the “gifted and talented” program. I always thought that was an exceptionally crafty title for special ed, and ironically, in a way it is. It means that there will always be someone pushing you, sending home fliers on camps or essay contests or college scholarship applications. Your seventh grade teacher will tell you you should be the first female President and pay you $5 not to tell that you caught her smoking (still baffled by that one). You’ll be salutatorian and then valedictorian and then go to grad school and then…
And then the “next” is up to you. The deeply ingrained “moving forward” becomes your own burden to bear.
The good news is this last foray in to moving forward worked out for me. I legitimately thrive when an online forum of smart (not smart-ish)people banter ideas back and forth for 3.5 hours at a time. The homework part sucked, but when did it not, and the paper? Well, that paper is the most creative and intellectually challenging pursuit I’ve engaged in maybe since grad school. It was like an “O” for the brain. Needless to say, I liked it.
But the “moving forward” part? The barreling train of ambition and 5-year planning and career development-ing. Yeah, I’m kind of done with that. It’s exhausting and expensive and not really honoring my smart-ness. I want to DO SOMETHING with all that moving forward. Something that ignites me, excites me, and routinely gives my brain it’s daily dose of “O”. And whatever THAT is is unlikely to involve more letters behind my name or more money in my paycheck. It is unlikely to lead me to be the first female President of the United States (although, Lawd, ya’ll, I may not be a bad write in). It is unlikely to impress anyone but, well, me.
So, I’m going to revel in hitting “Send” on my last 25+ page paper, have a glass of wine, and try not to get bored. Again.