Oh, man. When I was a kid, I really thought I could do anything. Absolutely anything I wanted to do. I wish I could say I held onto that feeling, but I didn’t. I don’t know when or how I started seeing my life in more limited bubbles, but I did. And I think it’s sad.
I wanted to be somebody important. I wanted to do great things. For a while, I thought I wanted to be a heart surgeon. I don’t know why I settled on that, specifically, but I did. I guess it didn’t occur to me that blood would be involved (yeah, the thinking process there is stellar, isn’t it?). I held onto that as the big dream because, well, it made my dad very happy.
But there were other things underneath that that I wanted to do, that I believed I could do or would be good at. I wanted to be a journalist at one point. I wanted to be part of getting important stories out. Then I wanted to be a photojournalist. I love taking pictures. I still do, but I don’t think I could keep my camera going in the face of tragedy. I just don’t think I could.
At some point or another I wanted to be a politician. I know where that came from. I was fascinated by women in politics. Geraldine Ferraro was someone I was really impressed with. I was furious when she had to take the blame for her husband’s idiotic choices. I’ve never understood why women are to blame when men do stupid shit, but men aren’t even responsible for things like childcare in their own homes.
I always, always wanted to be a writer. I submitted short stories to contests, but never even received a thank you note. I wanted to write a great novel and be a huge success. I’ve never managed that. I have drafts of things on my computer, but none of them are going to win any prizes or make a splash, and now I’m so tired all the time, I’m not sure I have the energy, drive or focus to write. I have been through periods where I needed to write, but right now doesn’t seem to be one of them (blog writing aside).
And then there’s the teaching thing. I played school with my sister as soon as she was old enough to sit reliably in a chair. We played all sorts of variations, but I was always the teacher. And, in that whole look where I landed thing, that’s what I do. I don’t teach the age I thought I would and I don’t teach what I thought I would. I don’t even teach where I thought I would, but I teach. I get some satisfaction from doing it. I still love the light bulb moment, but students are changing. Students are changing in ways that I don’t like and so is education. I don’t know if I’ll still be teaching in ten years.
Maybe by then, I’ll feel like a grown up and I’ll be who I wanted to be when I grew up. In ten years, I’ll be 50. I’m hoping by then, I’ll have this figured out and be who I want to be doing what I want to do. A girl can dream, right?
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