I enjoy being a librarian. I really do.
But if I could do anything else, if I could go back and earn another degree, make a few decisions differently, I would study hard and become an art teacher. You know, one of those awesome people who love art and love showing kids how amazing it can be, how important it is in sustaining a healthy society. I would wear jeans and clogs and thick-rimmed glasses and big sweaters covered in paint. I would invite students to hang out in the studio over lunch when I did my own painting or sculpting or drawing or collaging.
This nostalgia for a different profession began a few weeks ago. On a day off I visited my husband at the middle school where he is interning at the guidance office. I got to meet his supervisor, the secretaries, and I went on a tour of the school. When we peeked into the art studio, covered in paint splotches and messy with scraps of fabric and pencils and canvases and the beginnings of masterpieces, I smiled and sighed. “I could be working here,” I said to my husband, “if I had done things differently.”
It’s fascinating how our lives look to us in retrospect. It’s not that I am unhappy with how things have turned out. Actually, the exact opposite is true. I know I am a librarian for a reason. I know I am where I am for a reason. But I wonder sometimes. I wonder what life might be like if I had declared an art major in college and earned a teaching degree instead of a BA in English. What would it be like to work in a school, with kids, teaching the basics of art? Would I even enjoy it as much as I think I would?
I suppose it’s silly to imagine and wonder. I am not an art teacher, after all, and I highly doubt that I will return to school any time soon to become one. And I rather like being a librarian. It has its own perks. I can still wear those clogs and thick-rimmed glasses and big sweaters (minus the paint, of course). I can still help people understand the importance of the arts in society and education.
Maybe someday I will be able to say that I did both. Who knows, it could happen. Until then I will enjoy being a librarian and I will be the best and coolest librarian I can be.