Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 34 seconds
“What would you like to be when you grow up?”
I love that question now… now that I am growing up... ahem grown up.
But when I was a kid, that shit messed me up. Life was a giggly dream of singing, dancing, napping, recess, snack-time and playing "army" with the other kids in the sand box. I must say I was quite creative in winning those sand box battles. I wondered what I was going to do with my life even as a young child. I worried my self sick over it.
Finally, there was that unavoidable day that the teacher decided it was time for us to talk about what we wanted to be when we grew up? My fluffy dream of forever fighting sandbox wars halted as if someone awakened me drenched in a pool of ice water. Had I known the phrase “Bitch are you serious?” Or “WTF?”, I am certain that my often uncensored ways and potty mouth would have sent me straight to the infamous principal’s office.
But since I was a good kid, I played along and sat in a circle with the other munchkins and participated in the minor league college counseling session/employment agency interview. I was amazed and a little confused when each kid had some hint of an idea of what they wanted to do for work before they died (I was a little morbidly realistic). The professions were shouted out with joy as each kid raised his hand to share his plans for life. These punks were proclaiming to be tomorrow’s doctors, lawyers, astronauts, football players, pilots, models, musicians and race-car drivers… Each one hit me as if I was the target of a machine gun. Then it was my turn… and I said “uh, doctor???” I felt a sudden calm and free feeling like I had dodged a bullet. Until of course, the follow up question. "What kind of doctor?" There was a wave of silence as the theme song of Jeopardy played in my head. All eyes stared and ears awaited my answer. “A kid doctor???” Then the teacher replied back to me, “You mean a Pediatrician”.
So there I was, stuck in a lie... one of many that I would tell myself throughout the years. Why would you ask a kid, “What kind of doctor do you want to be?” I didn’t know all the options at that time. I wasn’t yet tainted by the reality that we are all going to end up frequenting some sort of doctor’s office or hospital until we become a worm buffet. So I left class feeling like I had to start becoming a doctor… then the day-dream kicked in. I was surrounded by my family, teachers, friends… (all the people that wanted only the best for me) singing “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow”. I certainly didn’t yearn to be a pediatrician nor did I have a clue what I wanted. Rich and happy might have been a safe answer. But still, for me, this conversation was premature and overwhelming.
Looking back, I’m thinking it would have been priceless to see the teacher's face if I had spewed out, “I would like to be a recovering drug addict, wannabe writer, self-incriminating blogger, slumlord or umm landlord.”. Just anything but doctor. Christ! What was I thinking!
That would have been so much more
fun. I never was much of a conformist.. but for some reason I thought I needed to be that day...never again.
Conformity and looking back... words I threw out of my consciousness years ago. Do yourself a favor and do the same.
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