Friday, September 10, 2010

What do you want to be when you grow up?

"It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting. People learn early in their lives what is their reason for being." From the The Alchemist.

I just started to read this book and it has really made me think. Do we really learn early on our reason for being? I don't mean in the eternal long run. I mean, "What is it you're meant to do while you're here?"

I grew up and studied music. I was pretty good, but not great. I thought it was 'meant to be.' I didn't realize that I had an affinity for writing. When I was kid, I wrote stories all the time, but what kid doesn't? That doesn't mean I should be a writer, does it?

In my early college days I was on a trip to Catalina with my family. We were sitting out on the deck of the boat as we traveled and I was telling a story to my sister as she lay with her head on my lap. What I didn't realize was that a man sitting close by was listening.

After, he was amazed, told me how great a story teller I was and that he knew people in Hollywood who would be interested in my talent. I almost laughed. I wasn't a story teller. I was a musician. I told him my sisters and I sang and he was interested in that too. He was in the entertainment business and could pretty much hook me up with anyone. He was a really nice family man and was there with his family.

I was so dumb.

At the time, my insecurity and naivete took hold. I was just a little Mormon girl, and what did I know of the world? I was too afraid to go forward with that dream. I could just kick myself now. But I also believe that things happen in time, and for a reason.

I've experienced a bit more of life now and have a wonderful family. If I had jumped at the chance in my twenties, would I be the same person I am now? I don't know. I never will know, but the point here is yes, I knew, but didn't know, that I was a writer.

I wish I would have started a long time ago, but where would I change things? I wish I could live my life over and over to see which version is the best! Then again, that would be hard. The version I'm in is pretty good, so I'll keep it, but sometimes I wonder where I'd be if I'd taken that guy's offer.


Clarissa Draper said...

I wish I had started earlier but now that I have, I'm making up for lost time.


Mike said...

You never will know, I guess. But it's fun to wonder. I just don't want to grow up.

KarenG said...

Love you blog. Why do you still have comment moderation on? It's so lame.

Kittie Howard said...

When I much younger and single, I visited friends who lived on an island country in our hemisphere. An extremely wealthy family in their orbit wanted me to travel with them in their jet that summer and keep their daughter company. I had no intention of turning my college degree into a nanny's certificate so turned them down, politely so.

At the airport, while waiting to board my flight to the U.S., this drop-dead gorgeous hulk approached me, introduced himself and tried to convince me to travel with these people. I thanked him but said no, politely so.

He then introduced himself. He was the vice-president of the country. Since I wasn't interested in the family, perhaps I'd return with him to his palace??

I said no, politely so, and went on my way.

There was later a coup in this country. He died in the coup, as I probably would have.

So, nope, I don't look back.

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

Didn't realize I still had comment moderation on! LOL I turned it off. I think it's irritating too!

Summer Ross said...

I've always wrote, the earliest I remember was in third grade, I made my own book- lol In 5th grade I decided I was going to be a writer, then by now I am a writer, even if just barely published author in poetry- but life has taken set backs to dreams.

The alchemist is a great book I read it a few months ago- I keep trying to get my friends to read it but the minute they see anything regarding religion they bulk.

Old Kitty said...

Wow!! That's an amazing story!! I love this - it's like a "what if.." What if you had taken that man's offer? Where would you be know - how would your life's path be so divergent from what it is now? What a conundrum - brilliant!!

I always, always think in retrospect "what if.." in my life. But, hand on heart, I don't have any regrets - a lot of sadness and catharsis - but no regrets! Well not yet anyway, LOL!

Take care

Talei said...

Ah the choices in life...we all make them. ;)

I wonder about alot things that could've have been but for me if they're in the past - its done, I can't change it so I move on. With writing, yes I wish I'd started earlier but really I wasn't ready to do it - now I am.

PS: The Alchemist is one of my fav books of all time!

Angie said...

That's interesting to think about. I know I didn't discover my passion for writing until my twenties. I had to overcome my fear first. Thanks for a great post!

Andrea Franco-Cook said...

FWIW, the same thoughts have crossed my mind over the past couple of years.

After finishing grad school, I wanted to take on the political world and write some kick butt policies. It wasn't long before I went to work as a policy analyst for a small non-profit. Although I enjoyed the job, there was always a small void inside me that I was unable to fill.

A year later, I expressed these feelings to my husband. He suggested I take some time off to pursue the novel I had been contemplating since grad school. I took him up on the offer and resigned my position. It took me a little over a year to complete the first draft. I'd be lying if I told you it was all flowers and butterflies. Quite the opposite, there were days I wanted to pull my hair out. Yet, oddly, I never felt more fulfilled in my life.

My work may never be published, but all my instincts are telling me that I am headed in the right direction. Listen to your gut, if it is telling you something is amiss, then it probably is. Keep searching, never give up and someday you will discover the one thing that rings your bell. All the best.

LTM said...

I listened to The Alchemist on iTunes read by Jeremy Irons a few years back and I thought it was so interesting... It's funny you bring it up here b/c I've been thinking about it since starting this novelist journey, too. I say, "Possibly yes..." But I hate to trap people in boxes. Can we change our destiny? oh no! not enough room in small comments space for deep thinking... ;p

Scott said...

All of us can relate to this post in a very personal way. The list of responses I offered up when asked "what do you want to be when you grow up?" throughout my childhood were: bus driver, teacher, chemist, professor of chemistry, professor of English, high school teacher, debate coach...and now when people ask (and they don't ask much any more...I mean, I'm only 30 and quite honestly I don't think I'm all that grown-up yet) I tell them writer. But I'm sure I'm a writer already; I'm just not paid for it...yet

Mary Campbell said...

I didn't know what I wanted to be - and I still wonder what I'm going to be when I grow up. I wasn't a writer when I was young, but recently I went to a family reunion and told my cousin that I'm writing and she said I had told her I wanted to be a writer when I was little. So weird - because I don't remember that at all. Maybe the little me did know and then I got all mixed up with crazy life. I wish I wrote more when I was young, but honestly I have way more ability now and I'm interested now. So maybe I just needed to season a little bit and maybe you did too.

Kristopher and Crew said...


I was just talking to my wife about this the other day, how life's path is so full of "what-ifs" There are a few things in our past we really regret, but then again, we wouldn't be where we are now, working towards something truly great. (If it ever happens... hahah)

And for the record, your story could easily have turned out creepy and horrible too.... ;)

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