Sunday, April 18, 2010

How to become a baker with an ivy league degree

As I near the end of my four years at college, I, like every other senior, am trying to figure out what I want to do with my life.  Somehow I thought I'd know by now, like these four years were supposed to show me the answer and that I'd still be doing at 50 what I'm going to be doing at 22.  The problem is, I don't know what career I want, and even when I think I do, I change my mind so often that I have mostly stopped fooling myself into believing I know what I want.  (Some sample career choices that I was convinced of for at least 24 hours at one point:  lawyer, teacher, advertiser, publisher, novelist, graphic designer, gynecologist [not sure what I was thinking there], psychologist, and, contradictory to what this blog is all about, nutritionist.) 

My current obsession, as you can see, is baking.  And I think I really could be happy doing that, but it doesn't seem entirely realistic.  Question: why did I go to a damn Ivy League school rather than culinary school?  Answer: because I was told throughout high school that a four-year college was the only route to success.  Also implied was that the degree should be academic, although I now see that my English degree is not quite as useful as I once imagined.

As I was doing my mostly-useless psychology reading a little while ago, I read an article about what really makes people happy.  This psychologist (Csikszentmihalyi -- go ahead, try to pronounce his name) said that it's being in a state of "flow" that makes us happy; that is, being so absorbed in something that we forget everything else, time passes without our knowing, and the experience is intense and satisfactory (check it out, it's pretty cool).  Anyway, the point is that I think I feel flow when I bake and when I blog.  I don't know if it's that they both have to do with food or if I like baking and writing, but at least I've found something I like, right?

So I want to be like Maggie Gyllenhaal in Stranger Than Fiction -- overly educated woman turned baker because she loved bringing people food (this clip says it all, from about minute 1 to minute 3).  Unfortunately, the movie is purely fiction.  Actually owning your own bakery is not just giving away food and baking all day. So where does baking fit into my life, and is there any way for me to make money doing it with no formal training?  Until I figure out the answer, I'll just keep making cupcakes to procrastinate and fatten people up.

1 comment:

  1. And...she was just a fictional character even within that movie.