Life?s resum?

There are certain times in one’s life when it cannot helped but to stop and evaluate it. Every coming-of-age ceremony brings one into full introspection, but my level of self-evaluation has been non-stop since I compiled my resumé.

What have I accomplished during the best years of my life? I have a bachelor’s degree, I’m engaged, and I have no debt. One would think I’m very lucky. Yet, reviewing my résumé, I now worry about living with complete independence. I doubt if I can support myself economically, emotionally or realistically.

The skills I acquired as a student do not seem to help me in the real world. For instance, I have no sales experience. I don’t have a business degree nor conventional work experience. I have no credit history either. I only have my books, ideals and dreams.

In this modern world, experience trumps knowledge. As I search for a job, I always have to convince the possible employer and myself that my knowledge qualifies me as a capable worker. The more I pore over my résumé, and my limited life experience, I wonder if the path I’ve taken was the best. I often wonder what life down the proverbial “road less traveled” would be like.

My parents ran into an old friend of mine. He has a job my parents wished I had. Instead of completing his college education, my friend stopped halfway to wait and transfer to the school his girlfriend planned to attend in the fall. They broke up that summer and he never returned to school. My friend now rents an apartment by himself and sees his parents on rare occasions. He is independent.

However, my friend has no dreams. He works as hard as he can every day just to afford his apartment, car, and weekend indulgences. He has no dreams of a noble career, no scheme of obtaining wealth, or artistic endeavors on the side. He lives to survive. He lives for comfort.

Recently, I ran into another high school acquaintance. He is two years older than myself but never went to college. He built work experience for himself and now has an even better job, with benefits and vacation time. After talking to him for a few minutes, he pulled out his wallet and showed me pictures of his two daughters. He is only two years older than me and he has a wife and two kids. His life is not invested in scholarship or comfort, but in the well-being of his daughters.

I realized my own situation is relatively carefree. I could have young mouths to feed, and I could have no dreams. The responsibilities I face are balanced; I can still walk across the tightrope to another post. I still have time to become a teacher, a pharmacist, an author, or a car salesman. All I need is time to recognize my heart’s true desires.

The paths we take during our crucial years are often not the roads we pick. Circumstances transform our lives and force us to evolve, mature and further define ourselves. What we become does not matter in the resumés of life. Resumés record the positive decisions we make. Even if you have committed an unforgivable sin, if you have a resumé, you have at least three positive life experiences.

While I wish I owned an incredible resumé, both personal and professional, I can determine which experiences I want. That is the most exciting part of life.

is a graduate of Southern Oregon University with a degree in English. He lives in Ashland with his fiancé.

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