Now that I don't have a job-job anymore, I've been making some money driving for rideshares. I enjoy it, since the people are friendly and the hours are very flexible. I get to converse with nice riders and drive around the city of my dreams pretty much whenever I feel like it. If it's a social ride, which it surprisingly almost always is, we get to talking about how our days are going, where everyone is from, and what my other job is besides doing this. This certainly must not be the only thing that I do, since I am not an elderly person or a non-English speaker. It would be hard to believe that driving could be a full-time choice. And, of course, there is something else I do, that allows the investigator to classify me and sit back to enjoy our ride to 6th Street or work or a BBQ restaurant or wherever it is they might be visiting that day.
After hearing about the driving thing and the teaching yoga thing, most people ask me about the future. I've heard variations of, "What do you want to be when you grow up?", sometimes word-for-word, on at about 75% of these cross-city journeys. But here I am, grown, and the answer seems to still be plotting its way out, whether I've explicitly decided what to call it or not.
For now, and hopefully when I grow up even more, I am not a thing that can be so easily defined. I am not a story that settles me into a single-termed box which has been pre-arranged in someone's mind. This is _______. She is a _____________.
I am (and you are) much more than a single ___________!
"But what do you do? Like, for money? Like, to live?"
And so the ride goes.
I understand these questions. I'm never put-off by the forwardness or the conversations that follow. Can I see myself doing this long-term? Am I making enough money to live? Are there that many people interested in private yoga classes? Do I ever want to have a salary again? They're the same ones I ask myself on the regular. I am only interested in the abrupt jump to find a label for this person driving them from place to place. I must be a thing that can be categorized with a title. Is it just "Uber driver"? Something with more slashes and creative pursuits inside? An entrepreneur? What we do professionally is so much a part of who we are, or how we are viewed, by our world.
On my last night at the beach this summer, I did not sleep well. I slept barely, and woke up at 4:30am after tossing and turning for a while. I thought, "Well, it's my last day here so maybe if I wake up again in about an hour, I'll go for a run and watch the sunrise over the sea." And so, after staying awake for another hour, that's what I did. It was refreshing, private, and beautiful, and reminded me to always be glad to be where I am.
So assuredly, when I grow up, I want to be a person who has time an energy to watch the sunrise over the sea. And, for now, that's what I am.