During my senior year of high school, I took a career test. Sort of a "What Color is Your Parachute" kind of thing. It’s always been hard for me to find a proper path and stick to it and I thought it'd be best to get some professional advice before I headed off to college. The test came in the mail and it consisted of two hundred questions that no one had ever asked me before. Questions like, Do you like working with children? Do you doodle a lot? What words would your friends use to describe you? What words would you use to describe yourself? I happily answered the questions, popped it back in the mail, and waited the six weeks or whatever it took for the results. It felt like an eternity.
When my results finally came back I ran upstairs to my room to open the envelope. At last! My reason for being! The answers to all of life’s mysteries! I tore it open and read a word that I myself had never before uttered…
Not… fashion designer?
I quickly scanned my brain, wondering if I'd ever done anything that would have remotely suggested that I have a career in agriculture. I couldn’t think of anything at all. I did remember shooting the heads off of my mother’s marigolds with a jet-stream hose and I also remembered ripping out my neighbor’s newly planted alyssum in retaliation for his daughter punching me in the face (it’s a long story) but did those things count? Did those things mean I should be a farmhand? What is a farmhand anyway? I’m allergic to hay and horses, did they ask me about that on the test? I didn't think so.
After the disappointment from the test results wore off, I walked back downstairs to tell my parents what I had learned about myself. My mom and I busted out laughing. My dad wasn’t surprised by the test results, actually. I can’t remember why he wasn't and I didn’t think to ask at the time. After I was done laughing, I went back upstairs to my room, sad and dejected because I was sure the world would never, ever understand me.
Here I am, twenty years past high school (ahem), and it turns out that the test was actually kind of right. No, I don’t want to be a farmhand (not completely) but being a farmhand isn't as far-fetched as it seemed twenty years ago. Now, anyone who knows me wouldn't think that test was far-fetched at all.
So don't be surprised if you see me with a booth at the Farmer's Market someday. Or at the roadside selling flowers. Or out in the fields harvesting beets.
Because sometimes the world really does understand you, you just don't know it yet.