Tomorrow I'm going to speak to some middle school kids. It's terrifying and exciting all at the same time. Part of the point is to talk about how I got where I am, and how there were times it seemed daunting and impossible. It's a little bit humbling to think there are young people out there who would look at me and think "success."
That's not compliment fishing on my part. I'm incredibly happy with my life. I am, however, aware that "book store manager" is not exactly high on the list of career hopes and dreams for most kids. But when I think back to who I was - and how I felt - when I was the same age as the young people I'll be speaking to, it's startling.
No one ever walked into a room and told me that I could make my own rules for family, or - heaven forbid - that it was okay to ask for help. It was never explained that you most likely aren't going to do one job for the rest of your life. No one ever suggested that it was possible - if incredibly difficult - to work full time and handle post-secondary education part-time and avoid a huge debt. Certainly, no one ever said "happy" is a goal that doesn't have to have a huge price-tag.
So, I'm looking forward to tomorrow, and I'm worried about tomorrow. Because the one thing I remember from every other time I've been in a situation like this - speaking to groups of young people - is how they always, always, throw a curve-ball question without warning.
Then again, something else no one told me was that it's okay to be surprised by life.
"Grindr," by Clayton Littlewood
This is a story that begins flirty - much like the app for which it is named - and then shifts tone to something more bothersome and frustrating - much like the app for which it is named - and then takes a sharp turn to somewhere I wasn't expecting.
If I keep saying that about the stories in Friend. Follow. Text. #storiesFromLivingOnline, it's because it's such a welcome thing. Every story seems to veer in a new direction, but is born in the same theme that holds the collection together - social networks, the 'net, and how the digital age has changed us and the ways in which we interact.
A man at a gym gets a Grindr notification, and - like I said - it begins the story in a light and flirty way that changes course throughout the telling. The last few lines left a real shiver on the skin, and I ended the story with a delightful sense of unsure disquiet.