One of the most commonly asked questions in a kid’s elementary school classes or by well-meaning relatives is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
I was asked this question like any kid. I remember at one point I wanted to be a forensic scientist. However, after struggling my way through math and faring only slightly better in science, it seemed like that would be a miserable career path.
Later on I thought I might want to be a journalist, or to write for a fashion magazine. Thinking of meeting deadlines, not having a life or time for a family as a journalist didn’t appeal to me, especially if I wasn’t writing about things that interested me. Writing for a fashion magazine seemed like it would be fun, but while I have at least some sense about what looks good and what doesn’t, I have nowhere near the sense of a “fashion guru”.
One thing has always remained the same throughout my life though. I wanted to be a writer. A full-blown, publishing novels on deadlines writer. It’s the only thing I could truly qualify as a “dream” that I had, that I would be determined to accomplish no matter what.
It’s difficult to garner motivation for something that will make you a living while you pursue a dream like mine. If you dream to be a nurse, like my cousin is close to being, or a doctor or lawyer, and that’s all you’ve wanted and you don’t stop till you achieve it, it’s easier to motivate yourself to get there. For me, though, I’m sort of floating in midair, sort of knowing what I want but really not knowing how I can manage it without finding something I can do until I’m moved out, on my own, and living on my own income and time.
The scariest part about trying to achieve this dream is the fact that when I used to write fiction stories all the time when I was young, I never finished one. If I did, they had ridiculously sad endings, where everyone dies or it’s an epilogue that shows the end of everyone’s lives. The others just went on and on and on, sometimes repeating the narrative curve from rising action to conflict to decreasing action and back again. I wrote about Native Americans, about fire people, about normal people like you and me, or about a girl who could live under the ocean, on the sun, on the moon, but none of them ever ended up “complete.”
Someday, I’m going to have to buckle down and live my dream, take a risk, step out there and try it, and work hard until I achieve my goal. It also means that I’m going to have to figure out how to end my work, to make it work to my satisfaction enough that I can put it out there and let others read it, hoping that they won’t shoot me down after reading a couple of paragraphs.
I still have to try. We all have to. Dreams should never go to waste.