Sometimes growing up means giving up
September 20, 2017
When I was five years old I thought it would be simple enough. I’d vocalize to my parents, “When I grow up I want to write big books,” and then fifteen years later out of nowhere I would be the next J.K. Rowling. I honestly believed in some part of my tiny mind that simply vocalizing things would make them certain to happen. Every single day I would make my parents one-page papers with article after article written by me, the future author. “You might want to keep it,” I told my father, “I’m gonna be big.”
This did not happen, as I now am the ripe age of twenty, by which I had promised myself that I would have authored no less than fifteen books and have a large following of young readers. As it turns out, you cannot just simply will success into existence.
Just because I can close my eyes at any age and wish to be involved in a profession does not mean that I will be successful.
Take high school for example. I had two dreams and I thought that just stating that they were what I wanted would be enough. A flight attendant and an author, the marriage of two perfect careers. No real education required and adventure provided at the cost of others.
But life doesn’t always turn out that way, especially when you are an uninformed teenager. Flight attendants go through rigorous training and deal with horrible customers left and right. Becoming a writer may also include at least a little bit of schooling.
So I went to school, University of Wisconsin-River Falls to be exact. Though when asked what I would like to be I would state a real career, in my heart I still held onto my childhood dream of writing.
That was up until the university managed to show me something even better than writing.
Writing is tough, as I’ve learned as a creative writing major, but reading?
Reading is wonderful.
Reading is everything I wanted and more. The idea of sitting behind a desk and helping others write has taught me to identify my love as reaching far beyond reading, further into critical reviewing.
So even though I wished it with all my heart, and made my parents as many scribbly one-paged newspapers as possible, I will not be a twenty-year old author of fifteen books.
Nor a lawyer, or a diplomat, a librarian, or professional groomer of only cats. When you grow up you have to make the tough choice of turning to the young child in the past and saying, “That idea was really stupid”. Even if that young child lives somewhere as near as two years ago.
The fact that people seem to forget, and that I forget time to time, is that people change. It’s okay to change your major, your sense of style, and your mind as often as twenty times a day. Sometimes more. You don’t have to pay tribute to a version of yourself that you don’t even want to spend time with anymore.
And to those who have stuck with the same career choice since kindergarten, congratulations. But don’t judge the rest of us who couldn’t make up their minds.