Pop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Where were you ten years ago?

So, I just had one if them landmark birthdays. The ones where you’re supposed to stop a second and, well, reflect on the state of your life and the progress you’ve made over the last decade.

You know, once you sober up enough to do so. Or even before! (Tears make a good bourbon mixer, or so I hear.)

I’ll admit it: ten years ago if you had told me I would still be I’m school when I turned thirty I probably wouldn’t have believed it, or at least it might have caused me to be a bit more skeptical of the primrose path to the PhD. Not that I really regret it now–it turned out to be a pretty good way to spend my 20s and provided me with a lot of freedom and a number of opportunities I probably wouldn’t have had otherwise.

And, as I’ve said, I am actually almost done with all that and am getting ready to finally join the grownups with their employment and earning-enough-to-pay-taxes and dishwashers. I am really looking forward to the possibility of a dishwasher.

All this to say, things don’t always quite turn out how you expect them to, even when you are, broadly speaking, still following the path you outlined for yourself in days of yore. It makes you wonder what will happen in the next ten years: will we still be in the same places? Have the same jobs? Be tenured at that school we just applied to? Be long-eaten by ravenous zombies?

The fun is in finding out, I guess. But I’ll have you all know that in the event of zombies I’ll be guarding my canned goods with a substantial arsenal of weaponry and a pack of mutant octowolves.

Where were you ten years ago? Where do you expect to be ten years from now? Are any of you currently engineering octowolves in basement laboratories? How much for a dozen?

The Pop Quiz is  question posed to you, the Scholars of Doubt. Look for it to appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons (ET).

Featured image: Augusta Ludwig (1834-1901), “The Birthday Cake”

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Dan holds a PhD in Music History from a major Canadian university and is now pursuing a M.Ed in Higher Education at another one, because he likes to collect very expensive paper. He performs stand-up comedy at venues all over Toronto when he's not busy playing JRPGs with his cat, Roy. You can follow him at @incontrariomotu, but he isn't going anywhere. You can also send him a tip on PayPal (paypal.me/dandonnelly) if you like his work!


  1. November 5, 2013 at 3:18 pm —

    I’m turning 40 in 3 weeks, so I’ve posed these questions to myself lately. Half of me is a very different person from the one 10 years ago, but I never really planned where I would be by now; I just lived, and here I am.
    Neither am I planning in that 10-years-long-term run. I don’t even want to think about being 50, this is half a century!! I just concentrate in my job as a boat designer, as I’m more in a Waterworld-type future, rather than zombie apocalypse.

    • November 5, 2013 at 3:54 pm —

      That apocalypse seems a lot more likely, unfortunately.

      But yes, one’s personal development over the space of ten years can be really astounding. I shudder to remember some of the stupid things I thought and said ten years ago…

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