I've always wanted to write. I didn't doubt it when I was unemployed or finding a way to use my (some would say) useless journalism degree. I knew I would end up with a job that involved writing, and if I didn't get one right away, I would keep working towards it.
The other night I met two high school friends for dinner, and after some catching up, I started to feel like I had nothing to show for myself. One friend works for the Environmental Protection Agency and the other is just about to graduate law school, and I know she is going to rock the bar exam and do great beyond that. They brought up words I've never heard and discussed things such as government corruption and investigating chemicals. I was genuinely interested, but as I plopped a piece of sushi in soy sauce, some splashing on the table, I thought about how my day-to-day work involves analyzing a single sentence and all its parts.
I've always been proud to talk about my work. And even better, I like it! Even when I didn't have a job, I was doing something writing related. So it wasn't that I wasn't proud of what I do or that my friends were trying to make me feel ashamed. I just felt so much smaller than them. While they will go to work and defend the rights of individuals and even entire communities, I will write 20 variations of the same sentence until I find the perfect combination of words. An admirable pursuit, of course. But not quite the same impact as visiting a site contaminated by chemicals and figuring out what when wrong.
I'm going to have to find some other way to change the world.