Are you the kind of person you thought you’d be?
If you met up with someone you hadn’t seen since you were a child, how would you feel when telling them “what became of you”?
I think kids separate the future into attainable and unattainable. Those ideas can be really skewed. When I was a kid, it was attainable to be a teacher, a nurse or a secretary. If I worked hard enough, I might become a “lady doctor” or even the prime minister like Mrs. Gandhi. I knew I could be an electrician or a lawyer, but I’d have to spend my whole career surrounded by nay saying men who wouldn’t respect my ability, and who’d want that?
I wanted to be a writer. Over the years I wanted to be a novelist, a playwright, or a poet; an editor or a ghost writer. When it came time for higher education, I couldn’t quite make myself go into journalism or public relations because they seemed too practical. After studying theatre, English, Russian literature and philosophy (all at once), I settled on library science.
Did I settle, though, in the sense of giving up my dreams? To my surprise, it doesn’t feel that way. In fact, my interest in writing and in libraries both stemmed from being a quiet and reserved person. But something happened along the way. Whether it was through acting scenes in theatre school, or making a presentation about mechanics’ institutes in library school, I somehow learned to speak up and to work in teams. When I got my first librarian job at 23 and I had to train and supervise staff, I realized I could do it. Since then my job has been completely consumed with managing staff to perform customer service. Who knew?!
Nowadays my writing consists of proposals, plans, reports and emails. I don’t spend any time wishing I were a Published Author. Besides, I’m too much of a homebody to do a book tour!
I attended a 25th high school reunion a few years ago (!) and several people asked what I did now. Most nodded and grinned, believing that shy Dar was still hiding behind her books. When I said I was a library manager, one classmate said, “Is that all?” I knew what she meant though – she thought I’d have written a novel by now.
People change. The Child You can’t see beyond age 30 – all they can see are the landmarks of adulthood like going to college or buying a house. The 20 or 25 Year Old You can’t see that a work/life balance may feel better than a blazing ascent and a crash. Or that adjusting your plans for the people you meet along the way isn’t something you do by default – it’s an active (and welcome) choice.
I’m turning 50 this year. I wonder what my 75-year-old self will think of me!
“Well, at least she wrote that blog….”