For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be wise. I wanted it more than I wanted to be a ballerina, a cheerleader, an architect, a mythologist (which my cousin once informed me wasn’t a job, thus dashing my pre-tween dreams – I’m looking at you, Tonya!), a star on Broadway and a (insert everything else a young girl can dream of becoming including quarterback because hey, I could outthrow most of the boys my age, wasn’t afraid to get messy and was always picked to be the captain in pickup games at school. Forget that I didn’t really get tackling, opting for the ol’ trip and shove to bring opponents down. No powderpuff leagues for this gal. I knew the NFL would make an exception – I mean, hello, it’s me!)
I wanted to be the person you could turn to and count on to provide thoughtful advice.
I want to be the person you can turn to and count on to provide thoughtful advice.
And for the most part, I’m friendly, likable, outgoing(ish), and approachable. (Great traits when you mentor, which I do. Terrible traits when you’re being leered at by the pest control guy who is waving a meaty paw at you saying, “I want all of that all over me. Would you be into that?” (Not kidding. True story. Also, what the actual… ARE YOU KIDDING ME? But, that’s another story for another day.)
Needless to say, when people ask for my advice it feeds
my inner megalomaniacal narcissistic naval-gazing monster my dream of being thought of as wise.
So, there I was… (as all relatively mediocre stories start) sitting at my desk when this very sincere young fellow (YF) asks to sit down and get my opinion on a matter.
YF: Beth, do you have a second for me to get your advice?
Me: (SQUEALING LOUDLY ON THE INSIDE!!) Of course! What’s going on?
YF: I just need your opinion on something and it’s kind of serious.
Me: (Doing an internal awkward cabbage patch dance while holding imaginary pompons and trying to outwardly do my best to show a face of concern. ) Ok.
YF: One of the other guys came up to me and said something, and I just need your take.
Me: (thoughtful mm hmmms – GIRL, you are going to CRUSH this!)
YF: Well, he said there were donuts in the breakroom, and I went to look and there weren’t donuts…
YF: Do you think he lied and was trying to trick me about the donuts to be mean? I know this sounds stupid.
Me: (Uhhh…) Nooooo
Internal voice: Maybe?? A little bit?? Donuts? Seriously??
Now, this conversation was more about the dynamics of their relationship than whether donuts were to be had and we talked this through it for a while.
BUT… I’m not going to lie, when I pictured myself as wise, I envisioned pilgrims ascending 1,000 steps (or more) hewn from the mountainside on which my temple/cloud condo was perched atop, a scenic overlook with some clear, spring-fed water babbling away somewhere as water is wont to do, maybe some incense, some big fluffy pillows, some bubble tea (because it’s fun to eat and drink), some genuflection, some “grasshopper, snatch the pebble from my hand” stuff. I never pictured life coaching on how to handle the disappointment of missing out on donuts. It’s like some genie with a wicked sense of humor said, “ok, you’ll be wise but your specialty will be confectionary in nature.”
Maybe I’ve achieved what I sought, but maybe it’s not too late for the quarterbacking dream.