By: Natalie Gavalis
Growing up, I always seemed to have a definite idea of what my dream job would be. A veterinarian in third grade, then a defense lawyer in sixth and so on. More recently, my sights were set on some sort of career in the business sector. I found this to be an obvious choice for the typical nine-to-five lifestyle I had envisioned for myself down the line. But as I sat with this decision, it felt that I needed to convince myself more and more of the ideal fit of such a career. In fact, if it weren’t for the quarantine, I probably would be still pursuing a path that I knew wasn’t best suited for me.
When the excitement of the first few weeks of the new routine had faded away, I was left with a considerable amount of free time. During the year, I rarely had a moment to breathe, but now I was faced with quite the opposite situation. It felt rather strange to have the luxury of time left to do whatever I chose! And this lack of things to fill up my days lead to quite a bit of time where I was left just to daydream and mull over everything that was going on. What would I do as soon as life returned to normal? What was the thing I missed most from my typical schedule? Questions like these led to me planning a rather elaborate day trip to New York City, one that would be put off for many more months until travel was safe again. I missed terribly the ability to just take a day off in my favorite city. I thought about all the little cafes and bookstores, the liveliness of eight million people going about their separate ways, and of course the rich, often far from glamorous history that seemed to seeped into even the sidewalk pavements. And of course, I missed just walking around the Met or the Natural History museum for hours on end. I imagined being around all of those artifacts and their stories, thinking of what it’d be like to be a curator even just for a day. Now that was one incredible job. And then it dawned on me. That’s what I’d want to be some day. A director or curator for one of these institutions. And the more I examined the idea, the more boxes I checked. To succeed in that type of position, you’d need creativity. Check! You’d need to have strong leadership abilities. I’d say I have that, given the amount of opportunities a kid in highschool has. Check! A passion for history and a desire to bring it to as large an audience as possible? Check! I ran downstairs to tell my parents of this epiphany I’d reached. I could finally say with certainty that this is the path I wanted to pursue; utilizing all aspects of ‘me’. Even amidst all of the uncertainty and turmoil of today, I had reached a very positive point.
The benefit that I had experienced from having this influx of time with nothing to do made me curious to hear if others had tackled something that had been hanging over their heads as I had. One of my friends had finally developed their method to reverse-sear steak to perfection. Another had implemented a level of organization in their new “classroom” space that was rather awe-inspiring. And in my own household, my parents finally found themselves able to completely renovate our basement. All around me, the quarantine had certainly brought a lot of change, but along with it some not immediately recognized positive opportunities. And I for one am very thankful for that!