Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Things I Was Supposed to Be

Writing this letter of intent (seemingly endlessly) has set me on the track of thought of all the things I've wanted to be over the years. When I was younger I had such tunnel vision about my future. There was only one possible version, and I thought if I clung to it as hard as I could then it would become a reality. While this is probably true, I overestimated my own tenacity. I think this is a generational issue, though. Most people I know are just now becoming what they think they should be, after a myriad of majors and minors, jobs and volunteer positions. So, here is a list of the things I was supposed to be. Consider it to be a sort of non-traditional resume.

Orthopedic Surgeon
Why: My dad was in a motorcycle accident before I was born, and as a result suffered permanent disability. Simply put, I wanted to fix him.
What: I read Grey's Anatomy when I was in grade three, and announced proudly to everyone who would listen that I was going to be a doctor
Why not: I took a week of grade 13 level calculus and then dropped it. Calculus was a prerequisite for the science program, and I decided if calculus was needed to become a doctor, I probably shouldn't be one. Calculus makes no sense to me.

Why: I was six feet and a hundred and fifty pounds in grade nine. You do the math.
What: I did some photoshoots, learned the runway, trucking myself from my country home to Toronto most weekends.
Why not: In the end, I didn't really care about it as voraciously as was needed. Some of those girls lived and breathed fashion, whereas I did not. Upon quitting the job, I had my lip pierced.

Why: I was picked out by one of my professors as being 'special' and more apt than some at sociological dissemination.
What: I worked way too hard as a research assistant, burned myself out, and then dropped out of a master's degree six months from completion.
Why not: Became disenchanted with ivory-tower intellectualism, as well as the poverty of academia. Being too poor to buy groceries just so you can argue about Foucault's version of the panopticon is SO not worth it.

Why: It was always a backup plan of mine, even back in the 'I'm gonna be a doctor' days. Whilst not as reputable as being a doctor, it was a profession and therefore good enough.
What: Took courses and interest in constitutional freedoms. Made loud noises in bars about rights and original intent. Worked in a law firm as a lawyer's underling.
Why not: Crappy LSAT scores, which may or may not be a result of complete disinterest in law school on my part.

When I was a kid, I went to a summer camp where we would stay on one of those recreation pioneer villages and 'work' as the children actors. This was legal because it was technically camp, and we were paying to be there. Anyway, for one of the activities, they had us sit down and talk about time and how time changes things. Deep stuff for camp, really. No wonder it was my favourite summercamp experience. They asked us what we pictured ourselves doing in fifteen years, and then we would make a presentation on it. I must have been nine or ten at the time. I gave my presentation about starting med school and living on my own. This is my most certain memory of my picture of my future. Needless to say, my future turned out much differently than that childish perception of what adulthood would be like. Still, I hope she (I) would be proud of me. I've realised since then that it's so much more important to be happy with yourself and what you're doing than to have a job that other people think is important.  That's all you're supposed to be. Content.

1 comment: