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When all that glitters ain’t gold

January 31, 2011
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This scone looks rather lovely, doesn’t it? Well, these lack a lot of chutzpah. They’re “healthy” – half of the flour is whole wheat, they have less butter, and they contain carrots, raisins, and walnuts. Next time, I’d add more sugar and some orange zest. I don’t particularly like kitchen failures, but I’m glad for the learning part, the “oh, I’ll try adding more baking soda next time,” that comes from them.

During the ride home with my sister this weekend, I had a lot of time to think. There’s a stretch of the road home, with its litter and rundown cars and trailer parks, that’s a bit shabbier than the other parts. Of course I don’t like it; it makes me uncomfortable.

I fight an internal battle over my future career plans constantly. I’ll be inspired, look up potential graduate programs, and hit the ground running on my way to art history professorhood. That is, until I remind myself that I always aimed to “help people” and that I won’t be doing anything for those truly in need by pouring over old French religious texts and writing journal articles on Renaissance paintings. Friday’s drive triggered this old familiar conflict.

The next morning, I told my dad what I liked about art history and the idea of being a professor, and then enumerated my concerns. He told me,”Meridith, you’re making the perfect argument for why you should be an art history professor. You like researching and translating old documents, and you have a passion for the arts. No job is really going to allow you to solve the problem of inequality in the world. You’re going to have to find a way to alleviate the burden of others in your spare time.” My dad is a very wise man, and I think he’s right. It’s important to follow your bliss. It’s also important to live in a way that helps others to breathe more easily. I intend to do both.

If all goes as planned, the next post will actually have a (successful) recipe.

Peace be with you.

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