13 April 2011

Future Possibilities

I was talking with a friend today about her niece. The young lady is getting ready to select a college, and seems intent on following in the footsteps of all her incredibly intelligent family members. That is to say, she wants to go to an Ivy League school, get a degree in business, and pursue a career in finance. And her incredibly intelligent Auntie is disappointed.

Niece is a rocker chick. She plays the bass. She's talented; not to mention funny, creative, and smart. So Auntie is worried that she will be unhappy pursuing a more traditional life plan. But Niece doesn't see the pay-off in the road less taken. So, Auntie was very excited when, in the course of volunteering, she met a cool, funny, creative, smart, successful woman. Hipster Gal had worked in advertising, taken a detour through retail, and eventually ended up as the head of visual design at a major New York clothier. At the end of their conversation, Auntie asked if she could bring her niece to meet Hipster Gal. She wanted Niece to see the alternate route fully achieved. Possibility become Reality.

I thought it sweet that Auntie was so intent on presenting all of life's options to her niece. When I was young, I opened the classified ads, and was astounded at the variety of jobs. I really had no idea about all the ways one could earn a living. I think this is true for many of us. We aren't aware of all the different paths we can explore.

I don't remember what I wanted to be when I "grew up." In college, I knew that I wanted to do something creative, perhaps in film. I dabbled a little in that venue after graduation, and I worked in an artist's studio. Then I got pregnant, had One, and life took a different direction. It wasn't a wrong turn, because I'm pretty sure God put me on this earth to raise these boys. But it's been a twisty trail at times.

This is the first time in my adult life that I am working in a profession of my own choosing. Even though I don't earn a paycheck, I am fulfilled. I'm using my funny, creative, smart brain in a new way. It's a satisfying feeling. I hope Niece can have that, too, no matter which path she travels.

What did you want to be when you "grew up?" And what would you choose to do now?


  1. I'm not sure that I knew what i wanted to be when I grew up, or perhaps I can't remember that long ago. I do know now what fulfills me the most, what brings me the most joy, and that Is helping others.
    It will come as no surprise to many that know me, but I'm not really all that religious an individual. That being said, I believe that I am on a journey, that the things that I have accomplished along the way, were stops in that journey, teaching moments if you will. Things happen for a reason, something bigger is in charge perhaps. If the niece decides to follow the business path now, it might open doors to the more creative path later, and the creative experience then might be more fulfilling because of what she has experienced to get there.

  2. I wanted to be a mommy and a writer. In addition to being a mommy and a writer, I was also going to be: a teacher, a scientist, a secretary, and artist, and then, just a writer.

    I write in the scientific and technical worlds (and am expanding my range). I hope to write other stuff of my own, and do more artwork. These are the only ones I have a hope of achieving!

  3. Anonymous13.4.11

    Gee, I think we all need an Auntie like that, Taking the path less traveled can be really scary so having someone like that helping to show you the way would be awesome.
    My boss actually said to me yesterday that you have to take big risks to get the big opportunities and if you always take the safe option you'll just keep getting the same thing you've always got.
    When I was in school I wanted to be a vet, a secretary or a librarian...I'm going with librarian.

  4. Anonymous13.4.11

    Your blog is being very greedy, has eaten my comment this time. I'll try again.

    I wanted to be a librarian (*waves at Kris*). Alone. Just me and my books. Ha! Did NOT go as planned. I would not have chosen this life (didn't really even see it as an option at the time). Good thing it wasn't up to me, lol! VERY glad it all turned out the way it did.

  5. I knew I wanted to be a mom and a graphic designer, in that priority, and I am. I am very happy with my choice and thankful that technology makes it possible for me to work from home several days a week. I feel blessed.

    When I was younger, I pictured myself as earning more, you know-- the independent and successful creative that easily juggled all, and produced sought-after designs and commanded a lovely salary and dressed like the successful urban creative-- but that's not the case... Just plain ol' me, in my plain ol' life, living in the country, and that's just a really nice balance. :) I wouldn't change anything [well maybe increase the salary ;)]

  6. As a kid I wanted to be a pediatrician because i liked babies and doctors made lots of money.

    I wanted to be an actress..but only in my mind b/c unbelievably shy as a child.

    In high school I decided I wanted to be a criminal prosecutor....show off vocabulary, argue a lot, beat the bad guys. I worked in the state's atty office as an intern and it was demoralizing plus got lots of paper cuts filing discovery orders. Still went to college for two years in philosophy/pre-law. Headed to adored private college to finish degree in amazing creative writing pgm and go on to law school. Did two days in the program and quit. My snark was reviled and I could not take seriously assignments like "Write twelve 'becauses' and a 'therefore' from the point of view of the big bad wolf".

    Cried a lot, came home, did a year of pre-ed curriculum at community college and finished at a state school. Got a LOT of static from relatives and friends that I was 'too smart' to be a teacher. Fuck that noise. I am where I'm supposed to be and I feel that every day.

    I'd be a writer...with some dream contract of writing about whatever I want and being paid a lot of money to sit in a cottage in Ireland and drink hot chocolate and stare out the window thinking of...clothes I want to describe in the novel :)

  7. I wanted to be a writer. I started in college as an English/Secondary Ed. major with a Creative Writing minor. Then I took a look at my actual prospects for becoming a writer and came to the conclusion that I'd most likely become an English teacher for the rest of my life. So I chickened out. I ended up with a paralegal degree, working in a district court in the Clerk Magistrate's office. Then I had kids.

    After nearly ten years home with the kids, I finally figured out that I had, in fact, chickened out way back when. I'm not a chicken-outer. So I decided to make my writing hobby into a writing career, and that's where I am now. Still trying.

  8. I know I wanted to be a psychiatrist for a while. Then I wanted to be an investment banker, because it was the eighties and I wanted to "do deals.,". Then, for a very long time, I wanted to be an singer. I ended up being neither,

    @Lora - I don't know you well but you seem born to be a fabulous, memorable teacher. In fact, you seem too smart NOT to be a teacher. I am sure there are many former students out there who are very grateful that you found one of your callings.

  9. @Lora: I forgot that I wanted to be an attorney! After I had Five, at age 38, my step-father said, "Great, now that you're done, you can go use your brain and get your law degree." I told him my brain didn't work that way anymore. I knew I COULD go get my degree, but I was no longer sufficiently motivated.

    @Skye: I am in awe of scientific and technical writers. Especially the ones that translate all the incredibly complex jargon into facts I can understand. I, too, would love to create art, but I have absolutely no talent.

    @Delia: Who knows? Maybe that time in the Magistrate's office (which just sounds cool) will be the backbone of another awesome Novel by Delia Moran!

    Like Skip says: it's a journey.

    For the record: the Captain wanted to be the Commissioner of Baseball, until Bud Selig, and his reign of ineptitude, stripped the office of all its lustre.

    For the record:

  10. My blog has been electronically uncooperative this week, and not just with my doubled post paragraphs! Sorry for all the bad behavior. I think it's been learning from the children. I may have to give it a time out.

  11. @lora: I HATE when people say things like "you're too smart to just be a teacher." Well who do you want teaching America's youth? The people who aren't smart? That's always perplexed and annoyed me. Someone once asked me why I bothered getting a "Big Ten education for a job that requires much less." Uh, I guess because I wanted a good education for myself so I could provide a good education for the kids I'd like you to hire me to teach. Jackhole.

    Sorry for the rant. :) I wanted to be a teacher or a lawyer. I became a teacher who enjoyed arguing. And now I'm raising two kids and trying to figure out the next step.

  12. I've been thinking about your post all morning. (Which is a testament to your awesome).

    What I wish I'd known then is:

    You don't have to choose only one thing to be, forever and ever amen. You can be several things at once and find ways to incorporate all your interests.

    I hope Niece does what will make her happiest, whether that's art and design or some lucrative finance job that gives her the means to go paint in Tuscany three times a year.

  13. I really believe that the people with the best jobs and careers are those who keep an open mind. Kris, your boss has it exactly right. You have to take risks and be willing to shift gears. I tend to be very linear and single-minded in my thinking. I often wish that I could force myself to think more creatively when it comes to my decisions. But I've got to work with the personality that God gave me. And I tend to be risk averse.

    The Captain would have made a great commissioner of baseball! Then he could have helped me get a job in the league, too. At one time in my life, I wanted to have a high ranking job for a baseball organization. I had a plan! But it didn't work out that way.

    My new fantasy job is one that doesn't truly exist. I would like to be a financial advisor to young ballplayers who don't have positive financial role models. It breaks my heart to see these young guys, who have worked their asses off to escape from rough environments, piss away millions of dollars instead of planning for their long-term security. It makes me want to scream. But it is so hard to hear that kind of advice when you finally have more money than you can spend. It feels limitless when you are young, healthy and on top of your game. That's why they have little use for conservative money management.

  14. I started college with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. I knew I was good at taking tests, good at writing, and that my family EXPECTED me to go to college.

    So I looked at the results of one of the aptitude tests and thought "Hey! That one doesn't suck."

    Then all the new media technology came out to play in the mid-90s, and I thought I was hooked.
    So I completed a couple of graduate programs with the idea that I would do research. My first class of jaded 20-somethings ended that little fantasy. I was meant to teach those hungover punks. ;)

  15. @Lora: I've said this to friends and family over the years: nothing is forever. It helps to remember when one is in a horrible place, and sometimes when one has to make a big decision. It doesn't have to be forever. The one exception, I imagine, is parenthood. But otherwise, I wish we could all feel more free about taking risks.

    @Janet: If you build it, they will come. Go find some ball players!

    @Carrie: Oh, you just reminded me of my early college years. The hungover ones. I actually loved college, for a variety of reasons. Almost everything seemed achievable-large scale world change, and personal fulfillment! And most of that was due to great professors.


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