Do you remember who you wanted to be when you grew up? It probably changed over the years. But can you remember back to your first dream surrounding the “when I grow up” fantasy? I do.
When I was very, very young I wanted to be a doctor. Even when I’d play war games in the woods by my house (hey, I’m a military brat…what did you expect?), I dreamed that I’d be a doctor and save the world. Once I started school I decided I wanted to be a surgeon…and not just any surgeon. I wanted to be a neurosurgeon. Yes, even at a young age, my dreams were pretty specific. I should’ve known better, though, because my favorite game to play wasn’t doctor. It was Library. In fact, I made check out cards for all my books and made my sister play with me. I even tried charging her late fees, though mom put a stop to that. The other give away should’ve been that I entertained my sister and brothers…and half the neighborhood with my stories and save the world adventures. And when we weren’t doing that, we were acting out fairytales I’d concocted or superhero stories. (I was always Wonder Woman).
Looking back, I think the thrill of it for me was in being able to help someone, to make a difference…to save a life. (It would also explain my whole military surgeon save the world dreams I used to have) I remember being in Jr. High and being so sure that’s what I’d be. But you know what memory most stood out to me? That in 8th grade, one of the local high schools had a little writer’s workshop for potential writers for their literary magazine. Our English teacher was told to select one of her most promising students to attend, as were all the incoming Jr. Highs. There would be a total of 10-15 8th graders. I was her choice.
Still, I was stubborn. I was going to be a neurosurgeon when I grew up.
High school came along. I’d transferred to a different school and moved into a different neighborhood. I was excited when we got to biology because it meant we were going to get the opportunity to dissect something more than earthworms. Unfortunately this was also when my dream died it’s quick, painless death. The time came to dissect. As many of you know from one of my prior posts, dissecting a frog could potentially be a huge problem for me. Thankfully, I was allowed to arm myself with surgical gloves and did okay. The problem? I was bored to death after the first day. I suddenly dreamed of lawsuits based on my OR behavior. I can still see it in my head:
Me: (finishing the first incision) Ok, here, grab the scalpel. You take over.
Surgical Intern: (hands shaking) Am I ready for this?
Me: Sure! You’ll be fine. I’ll see you later.
Surgical Intern: You’re leaving?
Me: Yeah…I’m bored.
Can you SEE where this would be a problem? Yeah…Lawsuits would abound…assuming I even passed medical school.
So there I was, in my early high school career…and already I’d lost my lifelong dream. It was back to the drawing board. I thought about what I liked to do. I talked to my mom and some of my close friends. Mom wanted me to be a journalist…for a local newspaper. Sadly, as exciting as that career would be…it did not sound exciting at all to me. I wasn’t that into current events. My passion was in the past…history.
When a mother and daughter don’t agree on something what usually happens? Yup! We argued. She thought that kind of career would be respectable and safe. (Of course there wasn’t much about journalists being held hostage back then) I argued that it wasn’t “me” and that I’d get bored, much like I had dissecting that frog. She threw up her arms and told me I’d debate anything….and sarcastically said, “maybe you should be a lawyer!”
Boy, did that idea appeal to me. And even as it did, I won my first writing contest. My poem had been chosen as the winner of our “Write the lyrics to our school song” contest. (Our school had been open for 75 years, and hadn’t had a school song) I won a check for $35 and my words were, in fact, turned into our school song by a local composer. He later asked me if I had any Christian poems that I would be interested in sharing that he could maybe convert into hymns. I also had 3 of my poems published in the local paper.
Now I look back and laugh a bit. My destiny should’ve been obvious. Everyone else recognized it while I blindly chased other things… But I’ve wised up. 🙂 I’ve finally figured out what I’m going to do when I grow up…
What about you? How did your dreams evolve? Have you finally figured out what you’re going to do when you grow up?