Friday, March 24, 2006

When I grow up

(NOTE: Blogger's word verification seemed to be broken Sunday night and early Monday. I turned off word verification yesterday for awhile. Everything seems to be working properly now. Please let me know if you have problems.)

(This really didn't start out to be some kind of motivational post. And I'm sure you've all heard about my desire to write ad nauseam. Nevertheless...)

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I remember in high school we had to fill out a little questionaire for the prom booklet. One of the questions was where do you see yourself in ten years? I'm not sure what I said. Probably something like married, with a child or one on the way, and probably something about what job I'd have. I tell you what I didn't say. I didn't say that I'd be 33 years old and single and have a blog. But life doesn't always go like we plan.

So what did I want to be when I was young? Well, besides a garbage man, of course. Why do kids want to be garbage men anyway? Or maybe it was just me. I think it's because when you're a kid, that's really one of the only jobs you see and know about. The garbage man. Twice a week. You get to ride on the back of that big truck. And when you're a kid, big trucks are cool. Garbage truck, dump truck, bulldozer, fire engine, etc. Anyway, I'm straying from my point.

Early signs indicated I wanted to be a writer. I've already told you about my first book. Well, probably around the same time, a couple of neighborhood kids and I "published" our own newspaper. The publishing business is hard work. Especially without a printing press. Or a copy machine. Or a typewriter... Or carbon paper. Yes, every issue had to be meticulously copied by hand. It was like we were transcribing the Dead Sea Scrolls or something.

What was in this neighborhood gazette, you might ask? Well, it was a combination of current news, neighborhood social events, and op-ed pieces. But more times than not, it was stuff like "Bone defeated Chad 21-17 in basketball Wednesday. The game was played at the goal in the Vance's driveway." Then we walked around the neighborhood trying to sell it door-to-door for like fifty or seventy-five cents. I think we published two issues. Man, was my hand tired.

Then all thru high school, I always said I wanted to be a journalist. Journalism. That was going to be my major in college. Until I got there and found out how much English was involved. I love to write. But I never cared to learn all the technical correct grammar stuff. Nor did I ever like to read something I was told to read. Only things I wanted to read. So I was scared away from that. Everyone had always said I was great with computers. I pick things up really quickly. So that's what I did. It was something I was able to do. It was something I was good at. But it was never truly what I wanted to be doing. It has taken me all these years to realize that. Or rediscover it. Or not be afraid to admit it.

So my theory is that maybe we know what we want to be from a fairly young age. It was true for me. And in talking to a few people about this in recent days, it was true for them as well. A few of them pursued it. Most haven't. Many people I know are not doing what they really want to do with their life. Maybe they have a comfortable job. Maybe it pays well. But deep down, there's always that unexplored dream.

My question is why? Why didn't they? Why didn't I? After all, I can really only speak for myself. Doubts. Fears. Taking the easy way out. Being satisfied with having a job and getting by. Being intimidated by something that seems so incredibly daunting, like submitting my writing to an editor. I have known what I wanted to do all along. But I let all these things that shouldn't even matter deter me. Even realizing and saying all this means nothing if I do nothing about it. Then, at least I can say I tried. And that's saying a lot.

Life doesn't always go like we plan. But sometimes it goes like we allow.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
Are you doing it?
If not, why not?
Happy pondering ;-)

"And if your train's on time, you can get to work by nine. And start your slaving job to get your pay..."


  1. I wanted to be a doctor.
    Or a writer.
    Until my cousin's son was severely injured in a water accident.
    He had severe brain damage, was paralyzed and quite honestly, died 8 times - but they just kept bringing him back.
    In the early years, nothing helped him.
    He was trapped inside his own little body.
    But then . . . the doctor's assigned an amazing Speech Language Pathologist to him.
    And suddenly he was able to communicate.
    He still can't speak.
    But he can tap yes or no, he can hit buttons on a communication device and we know what he wants or (to some extent) what he's thinking.
    I wanted that.
    I wanted to touch lives like that.

    Why didn't I persue being a doctor or writer?
    Because this seemed more important.
    Because this makes me happy.
    Because I'm young and have the rest of my life to do those other things if I decide I'm unfulfilled.

    Bone, you have the rest of your life to be a writer.
    You can be, you will be.
    Don't be discouraged by blocks or doubts . . . we are what we are: And YOU are a writer.

    (sorry this is SO long, you nailed something I'm passionate about)

  2. I'm takin care of business today....but in another life I was...

    an honest to goodness opera singer. Until I got married and put my first husband through college. Then my second husband through college. Then I became a corporate insurance executive, then a stay at home mom because my dear husband (#last) had put himself through college.

    So, nope. no longer an opera singer. But I was once, and it was a very good year.

  3. I wanted to be a teacher. There was no way around it a teacher. Till I discovered how much I hated school and that I would have to go to school for 4 additional years beyond high school. Nope, not having it! So, I got a job my friends all went off to college, I had fun. Then came that urge to go back to school, with no particular direction. Just wanted to be educated. Got my Assoc. degree. Then, didn't want to stop there. Finally I had determined that I wanted my Art History degree but wasn't sure what I was going to do with it. Till recently. Now that I'm without a job, the door has flung itself open. I have to stop being scared and get moving. It is very scary, very! You should go for it. You've got nothing to lose!

  4. I wanted to be a teacher. I was always the teacher when we played school, growing up. Probably b/c I'm bossy. Then I wanted to be a child psychologist. Then I realized I'd really only see "bad" kids all day and that just wouldn't work. So back to being a teacher. I'm not doing it yet. Gotta graduate first, but I'm working on it as we spe... uh, type.

  5. I guess if I go back to when I was very young, I wanted nothing more than to be an astronaut. I was enamored with the space program. Then watched, LIVE, the Challenger explode. My hopes and dreams of being an astronaut were chucked out the window. Throughout middle school I didn't much for what I was going to be. I just had fun being a kid.

    When I got into high school I started playing football. Loved every minute of it, but knew there was no way I would ever play pro football. I had a small chance to play at UT, being a rather large fellow of some talent. This realization happened by the beginning of my sophomore year.

    Freshman year I took a class called Pre-Voc. We bounced around the varied vocational classes, spending about two weeks in each. Not to toot my own horn, but I earned the highest grade in the class, and most of the voc teachers wanted me to enter their program. I choose the print shop because they were the only classroom in the entire building that had a computer. I knew I wanted to work with computers in some fashion. I spent four years learning every facet of our print shop, and by my senior year was made shop foreman for the entire program running everything from the computers all the way through to the bindery department. Upon graduating high school I attended college furthering my education in design.

    Graphic design is what I have wanted to do since high school, and it's what I am doing today. I've just started my 14th year, and have never once wavered on my choice. I'm really good at it. That's not cockiness. That is 14 years in the biz, and hundreds of satisfied clients. Most important it's a challenge, and something different every day.

    As I get older, I feel the need to branch out more. My grandfather and uncles are/were all true renaissance men. One can do anything you can think of to a house. Electrical, plumbing, adding rooms, flat out anything. That's my ambition now. To be known not only for design, but to be known for writing, photography, designing & building furniture, among many other things. It's a long road, but I am getting there.

    If you really want to be a writer just keep working at it. Forget the "properness of the English language." People can go to school and learn than that. Jack Kerouac, John Steinbeck, Jim Thompson, Dashiell Hammett, Chuck Palahniuk, etc., do not follow the conventions of writing. They made/make truly new and unique forms of writing. True talent lies within. Believe in yourself and your writing, and you will succeed.

    Might I also suggest putting together an elongated short story, then publishing it through Cafe Press. I'm sure quite a few of your readers here would be willing to purchase a copy or fifteen. And if you need a website, I can help you out there. I'm looking to do more sites for my portfolio.

  6. I wanted to be a teacher. I loved my English classes and so I thought I'd be an English teacher. It helped that Dead Poet's Society came out when I was a junior in high school so I was all "I want to be as inspiring as Mr. Keating!"

    Then I went off to college and did the English Lit major thing. My junior year of college, I had to student teach for a semester and that's when I realized that I don't like kids.

    So my counselor suggested I go for my Master's and that way I could teach high school or junior college. But after 4 years of college, I didn't want to do more school.

    After college, I took a job with a company as a proofreader, which played well to my English skills. A few years in with the same company, I became a Trainer, which played well to my want of teaching.

    Unfortunately, I'm now unemployed and looking for new work.

    I have to disagree with the person who said to forget the properness of the English language. I think it's important to understand the basic fundamentals of English and grammar and writing styles. While it's true that you can write in whatever style you want, if you're uneducated, then your writing will come across that way. You still have to adhere somewhat to the basic rules of writing or else nothing makes sense. All the writers referenced did have their own style but they didn't stray too far from the norm.

  7. I'm going to stand by what I stated above about the properness of some of the author's listed. In Kerouac's The Subterraneans there is a sentence that goes on for 17+ pages. No punctuation. Incorrect capitilization. Palahnuik and Bret Easton Ellis is notorious for minimalistic paragraphs. My point is that they are all very talented, but if you copied a chapter from one of their novels and submitted it to a high school English teacher, it would get poor marks. It's unconventional.

    I have a friend that is a very, very talented writer, but has only a high school degree. No formal training. He has honest-to-goodness talent. Another friend is going to grad school for writing. She seems to think that the paper mounted on the wall will make her an official writer. I still firmly believe that it all boils down to talent. You can either do it, or cannot.

    Bone [ I feel funny calling you that :) ] has talent. He can write. Does he have the piece of paper? No. Is everything he writes in accordance to rules and guidelines? My guess is no. But he has the talent and abilty. That counts for a heck of a lot in my book.

  8. What did you want to be when you grew up?
    Are you doing it?
    If not, why not?

    I wanted to be an artist. A bona fide "Yes, that's my work hanging in the Museum of Modern Art" artist.

    I'm not doing it yet because, to quote John Lennon, "Life is what happens when you're making other plans". I say not yet because I'm making it my reality very soon. At the very least, I'm gonna pull out the easel and the paints and the inks and the pastels because I won't have to work for a couple months.

  9. Bone - you'd be a GREAT journalist!!! A column is JUST what you need! I'd read the paper if you had a column. :)

    I am a natual teacher.... so that's what I always wanted to do with myself.

    Then I dated a man (the most recent) who had a son (of age 6-8, during the time I dated my ex)... and I realized QUICKLY how much I really don't like kids.
    So now I work in wireless and I LOVE it!!! It's an everchanging industry with booookoooo bucks to be made... and any typical week, I only work between 25 and 30 hours.

    Spoiled brat, I tell you.

  10. Meghan: Thanks. Nice post. Er, I mean, comment :) I can only imagine the amazing feeling you must get when you see progress or have a breakthrough with a child.

    Dorothy: Sounds like an audiopost is in order from you. Were you in any musicals? Rochelle Rochelle? Did you have a stand-in? If you ever perform again, I'll bring a pez dispenser and make it clap for you. (You know, a lot of people probably don't get any of this and think I'm nuts.)

    Carnealian: Maybe that's just the push that you needed. When one door closes, one more opens. Was that as corny to everyone else as it sounded to me?

    Groovychick: "Probably b/c I'm bossy." Uh, no comment :) Go for it. You'd be great with kids. Since you'll pretty much always be a kid yourself.

    Big Man: I agree. Was thinking the other day how I was taught never to end a sentence to preposition. But now, that's pretty much OK. I agree with you. I think great writing supercedes grammar technicalities. Always. And I agree with you about the piece of paper, as well. In so many fields, I've seen people much more skilled who had no degree. Thanks for the suggestions and the offer. Really. It's humbling.

    I feel kinda odd calling you Big Man, by the way. lol

    Xinh: So many teacher-wanna-be's. Wow. Yes, Dead Poet's Society will do that to you. Mister Holland's Opus, as well. I guess along the same line, Finding Forrester inspired me.

    Obviously, one has to understand the basics and make sense and not come across as ignorant. Hopefully, I at least do that :)

    Darkneuro: There's my infrequent commenter! ;-) Do it. Go for it. Always good to hear from you.

    Blondie: I've always thought I'd be more suited to having a column. But they don't tend to give those jobs to people who've never had anything published or a job in writing before :)

    Being a teacher has also crossed my mind several times. I think that would be a job I would enjoy.

  11. First time here and I enjoyed the post--but it kind of depressed me. I wanted to be a writer and I tried--I have the rejection slips to prove it. So I write a blog and I am a damn good sales person. Oh well.

  12. space and being an astronaut was probably first on my list..then i remember second grade, gathering the gym to have a moment of silence for a teacher that had exploded in more space dreams for this kid.
    then a librarian. i used to read alot, trips to the library every saturday. thought it was amazing to be surrounded by books all the time.
    then an art teacher. but elementary. then i went to college, started coaching, was still thinking art teacher..then i got further into college and majored in art. then i discovered the field of art therapy. wanted to do that. so badly i could taste it. but i was an athlete and it was paying for school. and art therapy meant a transfer and i was a junior. so then i tried to minor in psych. and social science statistics ruined that dream for me. and then i was doing graphic design. and being an art major. and loving it. but knowing that i was not the type of person to sit on a computer all day. but still ignoring all of those nasty relatives..'art major? what are you going to do with that?!' then i graduated. with an art degree. thought back to education..had now decided after years of coaching that i could get both coaching and art in a teaching job..but didn't want elementary--that was wiping boogers and teaching scissor use. and had that heart-to-heart with myself..what AM i going to do with an art degree?! went back to school. got my teaching license. student taught. like the 6-12s, thought the k4-5s were just cute. figured i'd interview, do either, see what came along.
    i am high school art teacher. i do not coach. my school does not have a team. i miss it probably most of all. i'm not sure that this is what i'm meant to do either. i love my kids, especially the bad asses, i love the break-throughs, the lights going on..etc..but i'm not sure this is it..and if there was more money in it..well, that would sweeten the deal..
    is it bad if i just want to make less than mainstream candy hearts?

  13. the first thing i remember wanting to be is a teacher, but i think that is because all my friends wanted to do that...after that i wanted to be in the medical field...didn't do it, but working on my BSN now...

  14. I always wanted to be an English teacher. Then when I got to college I decided that business would be more practical and got my degree in Marketing. Now I work in Accounting. Go figure. I still haven't officially decided what I want to be when I grow up. This is not how I envisioned my life.

    "Life doesn't always go like we plan. But sometimes it goes like we allow." That pretty much sums it up for me right now.

  15. I wanted to be a writer until around my junior year in high school. Then I took anatomy and wanted to be a doctor. Pre med sucked though so 2 years into college I dropeed it too. Think my fear of failure determined WAY too much in my life.

  16. Madman: At least you tried. That's more than a lot of people, including myself right now, can say. Thanks for stopping by.

    AW: Wow, I wonder how many astronaut wanna-be's that deterred. Guess I never thought about it because I never wanted to be one. Because, um, I have this odd fear of, uh, leaving the Earth.

    J: I think it's great that you are doing what you want to do.

    Krista: Well, there's no hurry to decide. I think sometimes we feel pressure to make that decision before we are ready. It's never to late to start once you do decide.

    Liz: "Think my fear of failure determined WAY too much in my life." I think it does for a lot of us. It's way easier to work in some safe job that we don't hate, but isn't really what we want to do.

  17. What did you want to be when you grew up?
    The first thing, I believe, I wanted to be when I was younger was a mom. My mom was a stay-at-home-mom and babysitter for neighborhood families. She didn't have a ton of other kids, just enough to make some money but still be availabe to her three children. I always liked the idea of being a mom and taking care of my babies similar to how my mom raised me and my siblings.

    Am I a mom? No. Unless you count fur-babies.

    If not, why not? Life choices, timing, and just odd luck prevented me from having kids already. I'm getting married in a month or so, but because of age and health issues, being a mother probably isn't in my future.

    In high school, I took a Graphic Arts course. I loved learning about printing and working with printing presses. I really enjoyed designing layouts and clipart, darkroom techiques, etc. I even placed first in district competition in Graphic Arts - and went to state competition. I wanted to pursue it further college, I was an elementary teacher major while working on campus in the Printshop. I was teaching 1st grade Sunday School to help me with stage fright in front of students/fellow adults. I went through some major issues, but decided in the end, I couldn't handle the job. (I think a lot of why had to do with my age, etc - but I don't know if I could do it still). While I was deciding to quit taking classes, I was offered a position in an office environment. I took the job because I was in dire need of money - and now have risen from mailroom delivery to cashier to secretary to payroll clerk to payroll supervisor. I'm not in a position I ever thought about - I would still love to be doing graphic/photography art. I want to learn so much in photography and design. I have a lot of ideas, just no resources or time. Maybe someday.

  18. I get you Bone. ;~D

    Yes, I was cast in several musicals and performed in several operas. My favorite was "The King and I". I played Lady Thiang (mother of the crown prince or "head wife").I sang the part of Carlotta for "Phantom of the Opera". I was privileged to perform with many choirs, including the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.


    But then life happened, and now I sing in church a lot and take opportunities to arrange music and teach some. I'll not complain, I have had my dream. It was brief, but I was there. It is hard to maintain opera lungs when maintaining a household. You just can't practice 5 hrs everyday when you have kids.

    -Oddly enough, I have had people clap for me with pez dispensers. One was even eating Jujyfruits. I think there might even be a pirated version of my dancing on the streets. :~D

  19. I've always wanted to b e a nurse, since I was a little girl. I still want to pursue that dream...passion really, but it's just not a reality right now. Being a single mommy, I don't have the time to dedicate to nursing school, which is a very intense full day program. I hope to one day be married to someone that would allow me to take the year or two off though to pursue that dream. Otherwise I'll wait until my kids go to college, and I'll go then too :-)

    By the way, I never wanted to be a garbage man!

  20. At first I wanted to be Judy Blume and then decided on neonatology, which turned into an economic historian and finally (by the tender age of 11) I wanted to be a member of Congress and hang out with politicians all day and meet Hillary Clinton.

    And so that's pretty much what I've been doing for the past 3 years and now I want to do more.

  21. I wanted to be an archeologist. I wanted to discover ancient ruins, seek adventure and travel to foreign lands. I?m thinking Indiana Jones meets Laura Croft kinda deal.

    I'm becoming a professor of Hebrew Studies & Comparative Religion. I discover the soul of people; I have traveled all over the world as a missionary and had some pretty awesome adventures. I have the opportunity to go to Israel and help out on archeological digs and study culture. All in all I wouldn't trade my's pretty close to what I wanted as a child.

  22. I've wanted to be many things.

    First, an oceanographer / marine biologist. Then, a 'hottie weather chick' and then, a cartographer. So really, I am doing what I want to do, but I would like to be doing it somewhere else. :)

  23. Cindy: I hope you get to do something with photography and design. I hope you find time. Sometimes you have to make time.

    Dorothy: I remember I was going to come see you perform once, but there was gonna be a clown there. And you know I'm afraid of clowns.

    Did Brody bootleg any of your performances? ;-)

    Arlene: Definitely go sometime. It's never too late. And you'd have been a garbage woman. Not a garbage man ;-)

    Heather B: So now you're hobnobbing with Hilary and I want to be Judy Blume? :)

    Audra: That sounds very interesting. Not to mention, you have great taste in music ;-)

    Mappy: I think you should've been a hot weather chick :)

  24. I wanted to be a truck driver. For some reason I thought that driving an 18-wheeler on interstates for days on end sounded like fun. I'm pretty sure Pee Wee's Big Adventure had something to do with it (even though Marge (was that her name?) was scary). Oddly enough, I still think it would be kinda cool in a totally unrealistic, romanticized way.

  25. Welll, I wanted to be a veternarian when I was little. I LOVED birds (my grandma had a parakeet and I got a parakeet when I was 7) and animals. I drew a lot and kept a journal too. I was always interested in writing, but never thought of writing as a career. Then I went through a long period of wanting to be a nurse. That dream got dashed when I got kicked out of nursing school because I got a D in Chemistry. Then I was a paramedic for awhile, but that was too emotionally difficult, so the flunking out of nursing school thing was probably a blessing in disguise.

    For a brief period of time, I wanted to go into public relations or journalism and then finally settled on Biology. I have a degree in Biology and a minor in Environmental Studies. Do I have a job related to my degree? Nope, though I do a lot of volunteer work in my desired field. I'd still love to write a book or get my photography published, but I still don't have a career. Oh of these days.

  26. I would have hated to see you plow those kids down. And my poor grandma with her walker.

    "Oh the humanity!"

  27. I just wanted to be rich. I'm not there yet.

    Actually, I wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer, a marine biologist and an archaeologist. I'm none of those things.

  28. I wanted to go into Broadcast Journalism. (finally decided on that one in highschool)
    Found a school that accepted me and could go to, Father decided that there was no way that they had any money for me to go to school.

    When I was a little kid I wanted to be an archeologist.

    So no I'm not doing either of the things I wanted to be.

    Why I'm I not doing it...hmmm...well now that I actually have to drive to go to school I don't have any money to go to school...

    how sad eh?


  29. Lizzie: That job has crossed my mind, too. Although what I thought of was when Kramer hitched a ride with the female truck driver on Seinfeld.

    Chickadee: You were a paramedic?! That was one of the things I wanted to be, too. Expect an email from me about that :)

    Dorothy: Someone has to lead the way to make sure there is a clear, safe path. Besides, during a fire, the safest place is low to the ground :)

    Lass: Wow, you wanted to be all those things that took a whole lot of school.

    Rae: Yeah, my parents weren't able to help me out in college, either.

    I love that you still include the word verification letters :)