Thursday, May 31, 2012

How did I get here?

This morning I found myself behind the wheel of a large automobile, and I was asking myself, "how did I get here?" I was on my way to Queens College for my Commencement ceremony, I was about to graduate with my Masters Degree in Library and Information Science, the next week I will be going to Paris. About a month after we get home from Europe, my husband and I will get to move into our new house. Again I will be asking myself, "how did I get here?"

In 2004 I graduated from Longwood High School. I was very ambitious and had dreams of working in television or film, I always liked the idea of telling stories. Unfortunately my funds didn't match my ambition. So I decided to give Suffolk Community College a try until I figured things out. It was kind of hard to watch other classmates go away to college, I did have some twinges of jealousy. It wasn't all bad though, a few High School friends joined me at Suffolk and we had fun (no regrets!). Also I am NOT up to my eyeballs in debt.

That same day I started Suffolk, I also started a new job. I was hired as a page at Longwood Public Library. That first day I had no idea how much that place would shape my life, in fact I hated it there at first. I think it was just hard for me to get used to a new job, but my time in between the stacks introduced me to an entire literary world that I missed out on during childhood. More important than that, I met a bunch of amazing people. The support and environment there was not like any other job I had before! I went from having one mother to having several! It made it really hard when a few years later I was approaching the end of Suffolk and I applied to study film at Hunter College which was in the big city. At the same time I was up for a promotion at the library. I was really confused, what to do with my life? Commute to the city until I go insane, then beg my parents to pay for my New York City apartment? I really couldn't bring myself to that. So I gave up on my city film dreams and decided to take the semester off to figure things out.

It was on that break from school that I helped some librarians at a special function. It was a show by a group of children's performers called the Hip Pickles. I went with the head of the children's department Dianne and the second in command Kim. We were working crowd control. In the middle of the show the Hip Pickles asked for volunteers from the audience and they insisted Diann and Kim go up. Seeing them perform with a bunch of kids is when it clicked for me. These were people that genuinely enjoyed their job. It was such a relief to see that not everyone hated their job, work wasn't something bad, you can enjoy it. That's when I decided to become a librarian. A librarian is like a keeper of knowledge (which you have to admit sounds pretty bad ass) and its a job that gives back to the community. I felt like I could do that for the rest of my life. I didn't want to work my way up the corporate ladder, go swimming with sharks or sell useless junk to people. I wanted to help people and read stories to children.

I know to some people it sounds like I settled, gave up on my dreams and just went with the easy option. Well you my friend are wrong. It was after I made that decision that I stopped waiting for my life to start and I made it happen, and I started with my personal life. I was in a relationship that should have ended a lot sooner than it did. So I had some serious internal conflict when I noticed a cute new male librarian working in the adult department. The little voice in my head said, "No, Sarina you all ready have a boyfriend" and "He is way too good looking for you, so don't even think about it" also "You are not his type, he probably has eyes for one of the other young hotties you work with." So I found it strange when I noticed he was sent over to the children's department for no real reason and that we just happen to be on breaks at the same time. It was on one of those breaks that we began talking. I was amazed that he not only knew the bands I loved, but he loved them as well and was even more amazed that he was a true nerd like me. When I really knew this guy was special was when he showed me this old library book he had from the 80s (and never returned it! Scandalous!) It was one of those "How to Draw books" and it was of monsters. I thought it was really adorable. That's when I knew what I had to do. I followed my heart and I went for the cute librarian. His name was Tim and now he is my husband.

Soon after I began dating Tim, I found myself in the midst of another crisis. I woke up one morning to find that my Dad and brother Billy were moving to Florida (with or without me). It was kind of a no brainer for me to stay on Long Island (sorry state of Florida). Although I moved in with my Mom, I got my first taste of adult hood in that I did my own laundry, paid for my own things etc. Tim and I also fell in love with my Mom's dog, Gypsy. So naturally we took her when Tim and I found an apartment. From there things moved pretty fast, I finished my bachelor's degree, got engaged, moved in with Tim and started grad school in a very action packed summer. That Fall I got my first librarian job at the Port Jefferson Free Library. Now here I am married, College graduate, Librarian and pretty soon, homeowner. 

I can't believe I have made it here. The past five years have really shaped who I am today. I know a lot of people thought my talents lied in other areas and that I have settled or gave up on my dreams. Not true, my dreams have changed. True, I wanted to make movies and TV shows, even if I was just getting someone's coffee, but that changed. Now I love reading stories to children, decorating the library and introducing some nerdy tech thing into my job. I love what I am doing and thankful for things that got me here. I am not going to reflect on my life and wonder, "what if I did things differently??" what I am going to wonder is "what did I do to deserve this, how did I get here?"

If went back in time and met myself (even though that could disrupt the space time continuum!) I'd tell myself, "Look these grandiose dreams don't really pan out like you think, but trust me you are still going to have an amazing life. Your going to be a librarian instead of a movie director, but that's ok because all you ever really wanted to do was tell stories, and guess what? You do that, and your critics are children, but they always give you rave reviews and really get into it."

Also I would play past self this song from Fleet Foxes.

Stay tuned to see how my life will change in another five years.


  1. Thanks for being brave and sharing your story, Sarina! So much wisdom in your choices... and to sort of piggy-back on what you said about the concept of settling (and how it's an unreliable way people judge each other): prudent choices are just as much from the heart, and involve just as much risk and courage as any other kind! Living an extraordinary life is something we define and create for ourselves. :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...