Sunday, November 15, 2009

On growing up...

What do you want to be when you grow up?

It was such a magical question when I was little. I could be anything I wanted and no one could stand in my way. My dream job changed given the day and that was half the fun of it. I could be a doctor, a vet, a teacher, an actress. Anything.

In 5th grade, we took a career placement test. It consisted of a series of intense questions regarding our futures. I scored in the Creative Arts section, which listed potential jobs such as artist, dancer, musician, writer. I wrote “dancer” as my choice. Who wouldn’t?

In high school, I began thinking a bit more realistically. I had been to a few school dances and had come to terms with my complete and utter lack of rhythm. I loved kids, but after sharing that I’d like to be a pediatrician, my guidance counselor glanced skeptically at my math and science grades, so I figured I needed to be even more realistic. I loved kids and reading and writing.

Teacher. I’d be a teacher.

I went to college, loved all of my classes and focused on middle school students. I got a job as a language arts teacher. Oh, and a volleyball coach (yeah, I was cut from the 8th grade team), but to get the job I had to be a coach, so I became a coach. And I loved it. Well, most of the time.

And then I became a mom. I loved staying home and helping my daughter grow up, but I missed the challenge that came with working. I missed problem solving, talking to other teachers and making connections with the kids. I needed a job to come to me, a flexible job where I could be creative, problem solve and speak to kids.

So I became a writer.

Last weekend, we met friends for a little getaway. As the guys played poker, the girls sat around, drank wine and played one of those dinner question games where you pull a card and ask a question. One of the questions was, “If money didn’t matter and you could do any job in the world, what would you do?”

One of my friends said she’d be a chef, one said an artist and one a fashion designer. When it was my turn, I scoured my brain for something I’d rather be, something magical and exciting and fulfilling. I drew a blank. I didn’t want to be the only one who said I wouldn’t change a thing about my job (if you could call it that). But it was the truth. I’m a writer. And it’s the most magical and exciting and fulfilling job in the world for me.

So I blushed and gave an honest answer. I couldn’t be any happier.

33 comments:

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

Awww I love this post-and it's wonderful that your proud to be happy with yourself because so many people aren't and it can be awkward. My aunt always tells me she admires me for following my dream-apparently no one else she knows ever did.

Mariah Irvin said...

I took a similar test and it told me to be an anatomical illustrator for science journals. I had to figure things out for myself; so far I like where things are headed!

Isn't being happy a wonderful thing?

Tara said...

Laura, great post:)

Donna Gambale said...

That's such an exciting realization - that you're living your dream. I've never been so happy in life as I've been the two years writing this novel.

In 6th grade, we had to interview a person doing our dream job. I didn't know any writers, and my mom's friend was a pastry chef, so I interviewed her, and my entire presentation was a lie. Exercise in fiction, maybe?

Alissa said...

I remember having to take one of those horrible career placement tests. I think it advised me to become a zookeeper. Closest I came to that is living with 3 cats and a dog. I can remember as far back as second grade saying that I wanted to be an author. When my 4 year-old nephew was asked this question last year his answer was that he wanted to be a "room cleaner." Way, to dream big!

~Jamie said...

YES! I knew I could be the long lost sister!

I did the same thing... always scored high in the creativeness, ended up doing the teacher thing--and now that I am a writer, that REALLY is my dream job. We have our dream jobs. How freakin' cool is that?!

Lisa and Laura said...

I love this post, Laura! Most days I wake up and think, "Holy crap. I can't believe we're actually doing this."

Jemi Fraser said...

I've taken a few of those tests in my time. One said I should be a circus acrobat - yikes!

I love both my paying job (teaching) and my nonpaying job (writer) - would hate to give up either one of them :)

Wym said...

Wow, I felt like I wrote this post. When are you officially a writer? I don't get paid but I am a writer, right? I was always sure i wanted to be a cartoonist for Disney. I became a PE teacher instead. Now I stay home with the kids and by night, write, write, write.

Little Ms J said...

Oh, I'm all mushy now! Great post.

Girl with One Eye said...

Oh, I feel all warm and fuzzy now. Good stuff ladies.

Tamika: said...

Being a writer does make me blush! I love what I do, and I look forward to writing until God says differently.

Hope you enjoyed your time away.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Perfect.

Icy Roses said...

Aww, this is sweet. This question always makes me worry about my future.

If I could do anything I wanted, I might go to culinary school and be a chef. Or stick with my major through graduate school and specialize in Tudor history, go to London and write kick-ass historical fiction. Or be an artist. I took art classes for three years. Or be a musician. Maybe a paleontologist (spelling?). Everyone wanted to dig up dinosaurs at some point in their lives.

But uh, my career results said I should be a medical engineer, which falls on the opposite side of anything I am good at/want to do. What is wrong with that thing?

I'm actually going to law school, partly for interest, but partly because it will leave me financially secure. But who knows? Maybe one day I can do all of those things.

Erica said...

Aw. That's a great answer :) Wonderful post!

RKCharron said...

Hi Lisa & Laura :)
Thank you for the personal post.
Being a writer is having many worlds and people at your fingertips. (hah!)
:)
Thank you for sharing,
Love & Best Wishes,
Rob
xoxo

sraasch said...

Aw...sigh. Isn't it the best?

sunna said...

That is just so AWESOME. :-) I hope to be able to say that one day too.

My greatest ambition right up until high school was to live in the woods and never pay taxes. After that I wanted to be Jane Goodall. (I was such a focused child, no?) Writing was just something I did, like breathing: it didn't occur to me until 2 years after college that I could try to make a career out of it.

Yay for happy. Moments like that make all the rest of the slogging and striving well worth it. Go you.

Katie said...

I totally agree. How lucky are we all that we have found our true calling?! What an incredible blessing.

Tess said...

Isn't it wonderful? And, you even have a contract to chat about...

no more 'aspiring' in front of your title :D

christine said...

What a great post guys...and you know what, if I were you - I wouldn;t change anything either!

Sarah said...

I love this post! And you're doing it! You have your dream job! (And are only just getting started! :)

Christina Lee said...

so lovely....

Hardygirl said...

Aw. Love this!

When I was little, all I wanted to do was write and illustrate children's books (it helped that my incredible third grade teacher Mrs. Carter agreed). But, somewhere along the way I got derailed by that stupid survival instinct--the one that knows you have to have money to live. So . . . I went to law school after being at art major and spending my summers at Parson's School of Design. I thought if I could afford to support myself, I'd have the freedom to be creative.

Ha!!!

Glad I've made it back around to my dream. Maybe someday, I can call it my "job" . . . but I"m just glad I'm getting to do it.

sf

rae said...

This is a great post!

(My placement test told me I'd be a priest...)

Solvang Sherrie said...

Beautifully said!

Kim said...

Ok, how can I not comment on this one... seeing as how I spend my days pondering this very question. I loved this post and finding out that we have a very similar story. Teacher, mom, next step? You give me hope that it's attainable for me as well. Thank you!

Oh, and those placement tests, I was told I should be a funeral director. What the heck does that say about ME!??!

Annette Lyon said...

Amen to that! I'm a mom and a writer. Best two jobs in the world. Wouldn't want to be anything else.

Carolyn V. said...

I love that! I love that you are living your dream. Not many people get that chance.

jessjordan said...

Being a writer IS a dream job, and you're living that dream. Live. It. Up.

Kimberly Franklin said...

You know you've chosen the right career when you want to do nothing more than that very thing.

Love your post!

Heidi Willis said...

I'm late to the comments on this one...I'm not sure how that happened...

We could seriously be almost twins. Except I scored on that test that I should be an auto mechanic. Which I think had something to do with the fact that I was constantly taking things apart and putting them back together. Obviously the test didn't ask if I mind getting my hands dirty.

I became a middle school language arts teacher too. Which I loved. Sometimes.

Then I became a mom.

Then a writer.

And me too!! If I could choose anything, this is what I'd do.

Unless being an astronaut was on the table. Which my guidance counsel told me it wasn't.

Kimberly Derting said...

You said it perfectly! <3

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