Biology Teacher. That is actually what I wrote on my college applications. Biology? Teacher? What?
While I can’t even remember why I wrote that (ode to my cute high school physics teacher perhaps) it makes me smile, because I know the person who wrote that wanted to be a BIOLOGY TEACHER dammit! And she is just one tiny rendition of the person I am now… of the person I will become. Because, if I have learned anything since then, it is that I will forever be “becoming!”
Two generations ago my grandfather worked for Ford Motor Company for his entire life, and when he retired he received an actual gold watch. My father worked for two companies, because his primary company closed its offices in the USA, and I remember it being unusual but not unheard of that he was starting anew. Now, among my current colleagues, I know only one person who has not moved companies at least twice. And whenever someone asks my young son “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I have to repress the urge to dance around with him in my arms singing at the top of my lungs “You can be anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant!” (I know those are not the true words, but the soundtrack of my youth was rooted in 60’s anti-establishment music so I take liberties.)
I believe we are all on a life long journey. Whether you collect passport stamps or never leave your zip code, you are a traveler. We travel a little bit every day, from the beginning to the end of every day. Some days you may not feel like you are moving at all. Want proof? Think about the last time you reached the end of a giant box of Q-Tips, or a Value Family Pack of Charmin, or even a gallon of milk… seems like you bought it yesterday, doesn’t it?
I think the secret to getting the most out of this life, is to not be fearful of the road you are traveling, but to understand that your journey will have construction detours, potholes, and most likely a change of vehicle or two. Embrace the idea that you are not experiencing wrong turns, you are embarking on new adventures. And get comfortable with the idea that you are actually the one driving.
If I had to fill out those college applications today and write in what I wanted “to be,” I would believe wholeheartedly in whatever I wrote down. When I looked at it ten or twenty years from now, I would probably smile at how differently, but no less sincerely, I felt.
The university I chose was Central Michigan University, but did not get a degree in Biology. Or Teaching. I chose Broadcasting, Theatre and Communications. Then went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Wayne State University. I did, in fact, teach at a university, but it was speech and communications, not biology.
I have also been employed as a professional actress, a voice over performer, a fashion designer, the manager of a health club, a weather girl, a newscaster, a producer, a personal assistant to Nell Carter, and the creator of a small greeting card line. I have been a cocktail waitress, a banquet waitress, a waitress waitress and a stand in for Melanie Griffith.
The only biology I came in contact with in the many years since applying for college was learning how to track every single second of every single ovulatory cycle, and try to time every single “encounter” perfectly – then wish and hope and pray for embryonic confirmation that I had done it RIGHT! This never did happen, which led me to the highest level of Frankinstein-ian biology, involving many needles and many doctors and a Petri dish or three. And eventually my son. Which changed the whole thing from biology to magic.
I digress – TMI – apologies. Mom.
As I write this, I currently have a public speaking business where I coach people on communication, empowerment, positivity, how to set and achieve goals, how to speak, how to listen, and how to have a heck of a lot more fun doing it all. My clients are international executives, stay at home moms, and everyone in-between. I am also an accidental illustrator with three published books.
But I am nowhere near done “becoming.” I have no idea what is next. So am I one thing? A Motivational Speaker, Soap Opera Actress, Fashion Designer, Illustrator? Nope, I’m just a Dork with Dreams, trying to figure out how to make the next one come true.
I challenge you to not follow the stream of pre-conceived notions about yourself (don’t Go with the Flow.) Instead ask yourself the deep questions and listen to the answers. You already know what those answers are, by the way, they are just buried under societal confines and cultural dogma and a giant pile of should. The world is changing, and I believe it will be a feminine undercurrent that will be a guiding force as human connection outweighs commerce, gratitude surpasses greed, and Love trumps Lexus.
I hope I’m right. But in order for this shift to take place, we need to allow our passions and internal instincts to guide us in directions that may feel uncomfortable or frightening at first. Then the rest of our lives will align to follow along with the way we are leading (Flow with the Go.)
I do now believe in magic, and I believe it is on the horizon of every day. So if you have been waiting and wishing to “become” another rendition of yourself, do not waste one more moment.
Go! Be! Do!
Be doo, be doo, be doo!
Right on sister! And omg. How parallel our lives are, Missy. From the training (MFA) to the teaching (speech communications) to the career (I add a few here) acting, teaching acting, go-go dancer, trial consultant, blah blah blah).
We are some pretty hot “becomings” – that’s all I have to say….
I follow the same divergent paths for myself and career. Where they end no one knows, BUT it has been, and will continue to be one heck of a trip!