I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
When I was a child, all of us said that, once we got past the firefighter-or-astronaut phase. My experience of childhood included searching for things I would be “good” at. I played the clarinet, studied acting, and I wrote plays and short stories.
Eventually, I got into the technical side of Theatre, and I gave up on the outward expression of my creativity. It wasn’t that I’m not creative. I felt it suited me better to be behind the scenes, instead of out in front.
I was sure that I knew what I wanted, and I threw myself into the production side of the performing arts. I even graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Stage Management. I was good at what I did, and I thought that was it. I was set for life.
Reality set in as soon as I got to New York. My parents, very rightly, were no longer supporting me, but I found that I could not support myself. I went from being special and different to being just like every other unemployed graduate in New York City: working at jobs I never imagined I would have to do.
Grown ups aren’t supposed to say “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.” When an adult says that, it’s meant as a joke. For me it has remained an ongoing theme.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining. I have had an interesting life. I’ve lived on two continents, married and had a child, and the career I love fell on me from out of the sky about 30 years ago.
I’ve also struggled with alcoholism and mental health problems. I’ve been married and divorced twice. I am overweight and unfit.
That sounds pretty standard for a woman blogging about figuring things out, right? I’m not sure about that. The “lifestyle” blogs about the joys of being single, for instance, are written by people twenty years younger than I am. Some of them sound as though they are trying to convince themselves that it’s okay to be on their own.
I don’t have that problem. I value being on my own.
And I still don’t really know what I want to be when I grow up. I think that the secret behind that may be that I will never grow up. Meet me in twenty or thirty years, and I’ll let you know.