Thursday, May 25, 2006

What would you have done if...

Have you ever considered what you might have done if you hadn't decided to get into your current profession? Do you have a dream job? Not necessarily the job that's going to earn you all the big bucks, but the one that satisfy you, fill your well of creativity, fascinate you daily and keep you coming back for more, more, more?

Let's face it, a lot of us just don't know what we want to do when we walk out of High School. Some do. Many do. But have we really lived long enough by then to know what feeds our souls? I took a year of accounting, just out of high school. A year was all it took for me to realize that I didn't want to be pushing numbers around all day, every day, for the rest of my life. A cosmetology stint served me well. It was creative, and I enjoyed the field, but it never panned out. I sort of fell into writing, but I'm glad I made the stumble. It truly is a dream job that fills many wells, and always challenges me and it is something I can envision doing for ever, without ever growing bored with it.

But I do have my 'what I would have done, if I had known then' job. You see, I enjoy brains.

Yes, those squishy, convoluted, gray lumps we all carry around in our skulls. Brains fascinate me. I want to have an MRI just so I can see a picture of my own brain! Neurology is one of those professions that I know would fill me up, and keep me coming back for more. I enjoy reading about neurological disorders, and will read Oliver Sack's wonderful essays about the problems the brain can have over and over. I'm currently reading Hanging Out In The Frontal Lobe by Katrina Frilik, a neurosurgeon who tells it like it is in a very lyrical and interesting manner. I think neurosurgery would have been my choice. An opportunity to drill through skull and poke about in that tofu-like substance that is our very being. And did you know the brain has a tendency to ooze, like toothpaste, when a hole in the skull is drilled? (Don't worry, I won't get into gory details--but that's the sort of stuff I love to learn about.)

Anyway, a greater power in this creation must have decided that I would be much better off putting words to paper than to have my hands in the skulls of many, which I can completely accept. But that will never dampen my fascination.

So what would you have done if you had known then what you know now?



Nonny said...

Actually, I don't think I would've done anything differently.

About three years ago, I decided I wanted to take a break from school to pursue writing. I didn't know what I wanted to major in and as I'd gotten most of the general prereqs out of the way by that point, I didn't want to get myself locked into something I'd have a PITA getting out of later. I also didn't want to screw up my GPA when I didn't care about what I was doing, in case I wanted to go back later.

Also, I was living with my folks at the time and stress levels were at an all-time high. Listening to my dad go on daily about how I was screwing up my life, etc... long story short, I ended up moving out a couple months after I turned eighteen, and I haven't looked back.

It's been a hard road, but I haven't regreted it. I'm only just now getting back on my feet writing-wise after several major real-life crisises over the past three years, but ... I wouldn't change a thing

Kathleen Eagle said...

Michele--one of my favorite quips when I'm teaching writing is "This isn't brain surgery. If it was that easy, everyone including your brain surgeon would be doing it."

Nonny--I had a similar situation. I didn't take grad recs mainly because I didn't want to take any more exams and I knew I didn't want to go to grad school right away. I wanted to get out into the real world and on my own, so I became a high school English teacher. I don't know that I was ready--man, was I young!--or ever really good at it, but it became the cornerstone of everything that followed.

I thought I wanted to be a psychologist at one time. Then I took baby psych. (That's what we used to call the intro classes, btw. Baby this, baby that.) Everything was Skinnerian back then, and I got so tired of training pigeons and mice! Also thought about law. I loved debate, you see. I imagined courtroom drama. One thing I still think about is archaeology, but I probably wouldn't have the patience for a dig.

In some ways writing fulfills all those interests for me.

anne frasier said...

i'd like to have a small record label someday.
maybe i will.

i used to tend bar in a place owned by my uncle. today if i see a bar for sale -- even a dive -- i want to buy it and quit writing. i'd be the grumpy old broad behind the counter. the youngsters could call me ma. and grandma. hehe

liv said...

It is very important question to every professional to ask himself.Thanks for this wonderful article.This has really put me in thoughts to decide.

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