Friday, September 9, 2011

what do I want to be when I grow up?

When Taylor grows up she wants to be a ballerina astronaut.  I wasn't sure what Ayla wanted to be, so I just asked her and she answered "Captain" which means she wants to someday be in charge of the star ship Enterprise.  Yes, both my kids are crazy about Star Trek.  Blame my husband, it certainly is not my doing! 

My little brother used to want to be a dragon. I think he has since changed his mind...but I have not asked him recently so I can't tell you for sure.

When I was Taylor's age I wanted to be a Vegetarian (excepting pork products, I liked ham. Yes...I know) Veterinarian, mostly because I was a picky eater and loved cats. I can remember my mom asking me with that funny smile (which meant I was the butt of a joke I didn't understand) to tell people what I wanted to be when I grew up. I now understand the joke...and I am embarrassed for my 5 year old self.

Funny, as adults we like asking this question of kids.  And I am a little afraid that we don't ask it for any other reason then our own entertainment.  After all, how many people actually become what they say they want to be at 5 years old? I'm afraid the numbers are fairly low, and for those that actually do follow through, I believe it is more singular focus (or perhaps obsession?) in their life that keeps them on track.

But then I also wonder how many firemen said at 5 they wanted to be firemen?  How about spies? Taylor has been very into spies lately.  Honestly if asked now she might say she wants to be a ballerina/astronaut/spy. Because at 5 years old you really can be anything you want to be, so why stop at one profession when there are so many good ones out there?

As a parent, one thing you are told is to encourage the big dreams. "You can do/be/accomplish anything you set your mind to!" The skies the limit, the world is your oyster...errr...you get the idea. My question is: at what point is it too late?

I decided I didn't want to be a veterinarian one day when I discovered that it required the same amount of work (if not more) then a regular doctor - this means 8 years of school plus all the experience training.  At the time, all that school seemed like it would get in the way of all the playing I was planning on doing as an adult once I no longer had someone telling me it was bedtime. I never came up with another "when I grow up" idea. Not a real one anyhow.  I would jokingly tell people "when I grow up I want to be just like you." as a compliment of sorts.  I would see jobs I thought I would enjoy and think "maybe" but I entered college taking a major that was about as basic as I could discover, because after all, it is just the degree that matters right?

Next year I will be 30. Kaylee is still little so it will be a few years before my kids are all in school and I can have a "real" job. But I can honestly say that at almost 30, I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. Is "you can be whatever you want to be" still true? Has my freedom expired? The problem with thinking this way as an adult is that to often logic gets in the way. I am all to aware that if I want to captain a star-ship I am living in the wrong century.  Of course, so is my 3 year old..but she is allowed her dreams.  I would probably just be written off as insane...

When I was a pre-teen I thought the best job ever was to be the person that chose the order songs appeared on an album. I would program my boom-box (yes, that is what I called it) to play different albums in different orders then they were originally designed because I thought they sounded better that way.  I loved making "mixed tapes" because it allowed me to make that executive decision and I would get a thrill when I would listen to it and the transition was just perfect.

For the most part I enjoyed college, and as I am technically not finished yet...I intend to go back and complete a degree.  Of course the question is, do I finish the degree I have already started? Do I pick a more specific one that is more interesting to me? Or do I choose a career first and focus that direction getting the school needed for a real-life job?

My almost completed degree is in Communications with a theater cognate and an emphasis in musical theater (highly useful in today's cooperate world?).  I finished after 4 years (and $30,000 in student loans) with 158 units.  You need 160 to graduate. I was missing one class. College algebra. Yes, I am THAT person. I attempted to finish the class the summer after but with the stress of working, new marriage, new life and finishing school, it ended up being too much and the deadline to complete the class passed me by. I tried again this last summer to get things finished, but on calling APU (my college) I discovered that I was now missing 6 classes, one being language (that I didn't have to do then, but the requirements have changed) and that the university required for graduation that the last 24 units be taken through apu (could not be taken at a jc or another college and transferred) And each unit was $1300.00.  So somehow I had to figure out how to take Spanish (for $5200.00) correspondence, when they offer it 3 miles from my house at the nearest jc.  I asked how that was going to work and the counselor at my school told me to "take the other classes first and we would figure that would when we got there."  Yeah, not good enough for me. I gave up on that one.

Half way through my junior year of college I discovered I should have listened to my mom and been a psychology major.  I LOVE watching and learning about people and their actions, the reason they do things and how life experiences and personality affects actions and re-actions.  Problem is, I cannot see myself as a counselor.  The reason being I have no patience for ridiculousness.  I could not listen week after week to the same thing and not yell "suck it up and get on with your life!" to the client.  So I am not sure I am supposed to be a psychologist...I am not sure anyone would pay me. I know there are different psychology avenues one could take, but I am afraid that it would be a bit of a repeat to my Communications journey - lots of school in an area I am interested in, but with no real end in mind. 

So somehow I need a career that involves people, because I get bored all alone...but not where I have to deal with stupid or lazy people... 

I taught High School for a few years before I had kids and some of the time I loved it.  But parents that had not done their job and had resulted in raising weak, lazy and disrespectful children that had no faith in themselves drove me INSANE. I wanted to take the kids by their shoulders and yell "YOU ARE BETTER THEN THIS" every day of every week. Because they were, but they couldn't see that.  And the result was me sending off an adult into the world that was not ready, that was foolish and stupid and it made me want to curl into ball and cry. And yes, there were the smart ones too that had amazing parents and would make such amazing things of themselves, and have...but the lost ones that could do so much, but either chose not to because it was boring and they didn't care...or theyt didn't believe they could so they didn't try - tore me apart inside and I couldn't do anything about it.

Some people, like my amazing sister in law and several of my wonderful friends can teach everyday and come home and shake it off.  They can focus on the ones that they can help and say a prayer for those they can't and move on.  I can't. Perhaps that is why I will never be a counselor. I get overwhelmed by all the things I can't do that I get lost, and miss my chance to help the ones I can. I STILL ache for the kids I feel I failed, even though there was nothing I could have done.  At least not that I can think of.

Technically I am all grown up now.  Though I am not sure the growing up ever stops, so I suppose it should be ever present tense.  I am all "growing" up now. I like being a mom - most of the time. And finally now that I have three, (and after many many "learning" situations, that continue every day) I feel I am basically pretty good at it. But I don't feel that will be my final job.

I do know that someday I will go back to school. I will take college algebra and Spanish and get good grades in them - even if I am not sure what my ending degree will be. I do think that someday I will be able to say I was/had a career in _____________. But for now, I am still not sure what that title will represent.

You know, if I am being perfectly honest, you know what I really want to do when I grow up? I want to read. I want to read out-loud.  I want to read stories out-loud to people who really want to hear.  I love it, and I have been told I am good at it. I want to captivate an audience by just sitting still and reading - not acting, just reading. Perhaps I could do books on tape? Perhaps I could volunteer at a kids hospital or a retirement home or be the old lady at the library reading to a group of kids every Wednesday at 10am.


Or maybe I will go turn off the TV in the living room, curl up with my three year old and we will devour a mountain of books together. 

Yes, yes I think that will do nicely.

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