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What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?
New career? New side-hustle? New creative passion? What's next for you? An open thread...
When I was 7, a neighborhood boy told me I could only be one thing when I grew up.
We were playing make-believe, pretending my living room was a bank. (A day or two before, on a trip with my mom to the Long Beach, NY branch of Chemical Bank, I’d pilfered a stack of deposit and withdrawal slips.) First I was the teller and the boy was the customer, then we switched. A few pretend-transactions in, he inquired about my future career plans.
“I’m going to be an actress and a singer and a dancer,” I said, “and also a writer, and a teacher, and a nurse, and a stewardess, and a bank teller.”
“No, you can’t do all that,” he informed me. “You only get to be one thing.”
This made more of an impression on me than it probably should have. At 7 I didn’t yet know not to take career advice from someone as young as I was. Nonetheless, 50 years later I bear three titles, partly out of necessity: writer, editor, and teacher. And I’d like to believe that here at the tall end of “midlife,” maybe it isn’t too late for me to venture into other pursuits, professionally and creatively.
On the one hand, it makes sense to me that at my age, I’d need to narrow down my bucket list. On the other hand, now and then I find myself daydreaming about trying screenwriting, podcasting, acting, singing—for fun, but who knows? Maybe it could lead to more.
What about you? Do you have new creative or professional ambitions you’d like to pursue? Or old ambitions you’re not ready to discard?
I think often about that George Eliot quote: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” I want to believe there’s truth to it—and not just for those with great privilege and intergenerational wealth, but for all of us, at least to some degree.
Many Oldster contributors have written about later-in-life pivots. What dreams would you pursue now if there were no obstacles? Tell me in the comments…
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