The problem, well one of the problems anyway, was that I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up until I was way past deciding. I’ve gotten an idea or two over the last few years.
Here are my choices – editor, veterinarian, French teacher.
I find myself strongly attracted to all of these professions.
If I had been an editor, I could have spent my life reading, which is something I always always want to do. And I can write. Of course there didn’t used to be editors in the olden days of writing so we ended up with Charles Dickens – a verbose boring guy – who was paid by the word. If you’ve read him, you’ll recognize the truth of this per word compensation right away. I love to say this about Dickens. It always gets people up in arms. But I don’t care; I mean it.
I didn’t know until I was almost 40 years old how much I really loved animals, dogs in particular. They are wonderful. And I would have 10 if I could afford them. They are right out there, no hidden agenda. They are beautiful and playful and simple and honest and loyal. Perfect really. I could spend my whole day with dogs. Easily.
And a French teacher… The whole teaching thing – summers off, being with kids. I like kids, always have. And the big perk of teaching a foreign language now – taking students to France every couple of years. I took to high school French so easily and completely, I felt like I might have been French in another life. Madame started in me a life-long interest in the French language, French culture, France, all things French really. I have been to France three times and hope someday to go again. I love to speak French. The first time I went to Paris, I didn’t speak French at all – I felt shy about it and uncomfortable. One does not really need to speak French in Paris anyway. Many French people in the city speak English. My second trip, I spent some time in the French countryside. I did speak a little then. The second trip also involved spending time in Italy which I didn’t like as well as France. And I know that was strictly because of language. I didn’t like not knowing what was going on. The third trip, I spoke French as much as I could even though most of the two weeks was spent in Paris – just three day trips to Versailles, Normandy, and Giverny. I just wanted to know if I could communicate – get along in my learned language. And yes – YAY! I could.
But here I am. 56 years old and working in printing. And it all started in 1977 when I got a job through Kelly “Girls” answering phones and doing some clerical work at a small printer in Orlando. And I have enjoyed it for the most part. My years in advertising were good. I liked the problem solving part of the print production job. I’m a good problem solver. I always say my specialty is taking a big huge mountainous pile of messy crap and turning it into something. There is not as much use for that particular talent in printing. At least not in what I do. But what I do now is more precise and I like that too. It appeals to my sense of order. I do have to laugh sometimes, well not out loud but people are so funny. They will die if their printing is not delivered on Wednesday. Wednesday is the right day. If it arrives on Thursday, the world as we know it will end. Really? Huh. But I’m not complaining. I do it. And I’m glad to. Because it’s important to them and I’m getting paid to make customers happy. And I believe in it; I really do. It’s good to have satisfied customers. Then they come back and we make them happy again and they pay us and my employer pays me and the world is right.