We humans are preoccupied with professions. Hopefully, our professions not only feed our families, but our hearts, minds, and spirits as well.
Maybe it’s the obsession with profession (and what others think of them) that gets in the way of fulfillment.
Many moons ago upon graduating high school, I had a scholarship to go to nursing school. It was a profession everyone thought I’d be great at doing. There was only one problem. I didn’t want it. I wanted to want it, but I just didn’t. I chose something else that led me down a different path.
What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?
In social gatherings, the first question people usually ask is “What do you do?” It’s an intimidating question.
It feels good for others to approve, to validate that our profession is interesting. As we change and move through life, often professions are left behind or we’re forced to or want to do something else.
If someone asks now, I reply, “I’m a freelance writer.”
They’ll listen politely as I ramble on about how it’s feast or famine, sometimes isolating. I’ve been published here, there! I’m working on a novel! I’ll say.
If one has ever been a writer of any kind—freelance, fiction, nonfiction, technical—whatever the case may be, one may not understand. It’s not always rewarding. Sometimes, the pay that’s offered is downright ridiculous.
After all, writing, how hard can it be? I could write a book about how hard it is but I’d probably never finish it. Because it’s hard.
What is it that you do, do?
I firmly believe that we can reinvent ourselves if we choose to do so.
Reinvention is sometimes a choice; other times a necessity. Still, getting to the “new you” part almost always stems from the choices we make. Some walk straight down their path, others veer off to side streets. The most difficult part is accepting that the way in which you walk your path is the right way for YOU.
The people who matter don’t mind and the people who mind don’t matter.
When we accept that—we get it right, get it wrong, hurt, heal, love, hate, succeed, fail, feel joy, feel despair—we begin to realize that the complexity of being human is also the simplicity of it. We all want the same things; we just go about it in different ways throughout the journey that makes up our life map.
This is Your Life
This is Your Life began as a radio show in1948 before moving to television in the early 50s. The original premise recounted the life of a soldier. I wasn’t even a glint in my parents’ eyes then, but you see how reality shows aren’t some grand idea—they’ve been around awhile.
The show took off as celebrities joined its ranks. The newness wore off and Hollywood began to regard the show as an invasion of privacy, purportedly in the 60s. Ironic, huh?
Let’s do our own “This is Your Life.” I’ll start. Below are some of my several “professions” I’ve had from teenage years and beyond.
- Nurse’s Aide
- Fast Food Counter for four days (On the 4th day, I mistakenly rang up 433 hamburgers during peak lunch hour). I didn’t return.
- Shoe Salesperson
- Mom & Pop Video Store Counter Person (anyone reading who doesn’t know what this is; one once walked into a brick and mortar building, talked to other humans and physically brought movies up to a counter to rent.)
- President’s Assistant (not THE President)
- Sales & Marketing Executive or “Person who travels selling tchotchkes.” (Those value added items that are often included with products you buy. Seriously, there are hundreds of them.)
- Staff at Broadcasting, Nutrition, and Athletic departments at a university.
- Art Gallery Docent
- Unpaid Actor
- Personal Trainer
- Aerobics Instructor
- Radiothon Director for a large nonprofit
- Art Gallery Manager
I’m not including all the temp jobs. Are some more impressive than others? I don’t think so.
The person serving you food or handing you your dry cleaning or showing you where something is in Aisle B could be the most interesting person you’ve ever met. She or he could be working there to acquire knowledge for the next best seller they’re writing or working a few weeks before they climb Mount Everest, or working on their Doctorate Degree and they want to pick up a few bucks until they become a scientist who’ll discover a cure for the common cold.
Or maybe they’re just interesting, period.
I seriously believe we all need to put down our devices and look people in the eye when we interact with them. Everyone has a story and every story matters.
At the next social gathering if someone asks me, “What do you do?” I think I’ll reply, “I do me, and I do that better than anyone.”
I’ll let you know the responses I get.
Now, This is YOUR Life. Tell me about it and what do you want to be when you grow up? Are you where you’d thought you’d be at this point in your life? Would you change anything?