This afternoon I had the opportunity to spend time with my cousin’s daughter. We connected at my uncle’s funeral; the last time I saw her was when she was 3 or 4, and now she’s 24.
Over and over, this meme flashed in my head:
Here are some of the milestones I hit by the age of 24:
– Moved out at age 16
– Worked two jobs since age 18- Moved to Michigan, New Mexico, Kentucky and Ohio
– Road tripped around the U.S.
– Lived with my first boyfriend
I found myself saying those dreaded words, “When I was your age…” and I cringed every time.
In contrast, this young lady has been living with relatives and doesn’t work or currently attend school. We spoke about what she envisioned for her future, which included dreams of working at a bookstore or a movie theater. I prodded her into thinking bigger – after all, bookstores are becoming obsolete, and movie theater jobs are really more for high schoolers. She admitted that what she really wanted to do was travel the world and learn as much as she can. Thank goodness! That I can work with. I told her about how The Professor works at a law library on a college campus, and we agreed that a library would be a perfect environment for her. She would be surrounded by academics and wouldn’t be required to ask patrons if they would like to upsize their sippy cups for another $0.50.
Another area that I thought would be great for her (before she and I even had a chance to sit down and talk, but she brought up this afternoon) is the tech field. There is still a huge disparity of ratio of male vs. female tech employees and it’s a field that does not often require customer service interaction with the exception of level one support. There are so, so many degrees and specialties in the tech area that she could go into that really, she just needs to pick one and it should not be difficult to make a living.
So again, here is the whole closing a door/opening a window business being demonstrated in real life: I can’t work, but that doesn’t mean I have completely lost my value in this universe. I think I can successfully mentor this young woman and hopefully send her off into the world with some practical skills so she can do the things she thought were only a dream previously.