Monday, March 9, 2009

I Think I'm a Grown-Up Now

I'm reposting something I wrote on my personal blog two years ago. I can laugh about it now that I don't feel the need to visit the guidance counselor's office anymore. The answer to my question was so obvious--had been obvious for years if I had taken the time to see--but apparently I had my blinders on. Or my rose-colored glasses. Or my peril-detecting sunglasses. One of them, at any rate.

Mid-Life Crisis

The question of what I want to be when I grow up is plaguing me again. Sometimes I think I want to be like Mrs. Murray in A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle---a brilliant scientist with a lab in the barn, cooking stew over a bunsen burner. But then I feel too old to go in that direction, not smart enough to be able to pick up and retain that scientific knowledge quickly enough, and not balanced enough to do it all gracefully. Inevitably, I would poison my family with an accidental slip of something into the stew. So I'm back to wondering what I have to contribute to the world.

When I was in kindergarten, I wanted to be an astronaut (post-Apollo 13, pre-Challenger Shuttle). When I was in elementary school, I didn't know what I wanted to be, but my teachers told my mom at conference time that they were all betting on various vocations for me (research, law, medicine, education, marine biology) [Marine biology??].

In high school, I wanted to be an art teacher. In college, I realized that I didn't really want to be an art teacher, but I didn't know what I wanted to be (other than a mother), so I simply got educated, without getting any particularly useful knowledge (i.e., modern dance, English, Italian, art, art history...). Eventually, I decided on becoming an editor. I had grand ideas of living in Boston, working for a children's publishing house. By the time I finished grad school, I decided that I really should have become an art teacher. C'est la vie.

When I was finally employed as a college writing instructor, I remember several days of frustration with certain students. I would come home and vigorously chop carrots and wonder why I never went to cooking school.

In the past several years, every time I see the Rockettes, I regret that I never auditioned, but then I get some consolation by reminding myself that I'm several inches too short to have been seriously considered.

So here I am, still years away from entering the work force again, wondering what to do with my life.


Well, I'm wondering no more. Four months remain until I receive another degree, this one an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. This one is a great deal more meaningful to me--and there will be no accidental poisonings from simmering stew over bunsen burners.


  1. Ah, friend I am so glad you discovered what you want to be when you grow up. I look forward to seeing the amazing things you will do.

  2. Ah, the peril-sensitive sunglasses. Treacherous things, those.

    Congratulations on your impending MFA! You rock.

  3. Ah my dear, if you find that there is something that you absolutely love, then you must pursue it! I'm still searching for what will make me happy, vs. what will pay the bills:)
    I bet you can't wait for graduation?!?!
    You should be proud of your efforts! Let us know when one of your books are done -- we're anxiously awaiting to read!

  4. This post makes me glad. I can't believe you're almost done! Sniff!