When I was younger, the thing I wanted to be the most was an author. I started writing short stories and things in middle school and it carried on through the first few years of high school. I'd have a notebook that I'd carry around with me where I'd scribble notes about plot and do character studies. I'd map out relationships and story arcs and then edit and revise when I should have been paying attention to classes. At this point in my life, I couldn't see myself as anything but a writer.
And then things went wrong. Or maybe they went right, I can never tell. One of the major reasons I stopped writing was the invasion of my privacy by certain members of my family. Then a floppy disk containing all of my (password-protected) stories, of which there were 20-30 was destroyed. Contents were never retrieved. And then after I met N, things just went a little crazy. Things were happening very quickly, with school and my family and with N. Before I knew it, I was living on another continent.
Work in a publishing house
I felt as though one lifetime had passed and I was starting a new one. I didn't feel the urge as much to write. I did have a journal that I wrote in occasionally, but nothing serious. After a few months, I was able to start work in the UK and I began thinking of going back to my university studies. I thought long and hard about what I'd like to study and also what I'd like to do with my life and the only constant interest in my entire life was reading. I thought perhaps I could go to work in a publishing house, doing something, anything.
I was put off by what other people said though. They told me publishing house jobs are competitive and hard to come by. They told me I'd have to go after what I wanted and be ruthless. I worried that it wasn't really my personality. But I think I was really just afraid to acknowledge that in my heart of hearts, I wanted it.
Instead, I ended up falling back into a different path. One that my dad had wanted for me. One that he'd pushed me towards since I was little, and after a fascinating dinner conversation with a friends about the work they were doing in law, I thought perhaps I should be a solicitor. Before my dad went to Vietnam, he was studying to be a lawyer. I thought it could be something that I would enjoy doing. I always sort of knew that I'd be the type of person who couldn't do the same thing day-after-day and would need to have varied days. I studied law for two years.
And I was abysmal at it. My head and law just don't work together. It's very tied into politics and I just wasn't interested in it all. I think at the heart of wanting to be a solicitor was this idea of helping people. I'd love to be a person who fights and works to achieve good in the world. But sadly, I will never do this as a solicitor. Phew.
Own my own bookstore
By this time, of course, I was working in Books Etc. I loved it there. I loved the people I worked with, the books, the customers who came in and talked to me about books. I loved opening the boxes of new books, I loved organising books on the shelves. I loved rearranging books and thinking of ways to make my displays more eye-catching. I loved the paperwork involved and the chance to choose which books to buy.
I started to daydream about having my own bookstore. Maybe a funky children's bookstore like in You've Got Mail. There was once a dedicated children's bookstore in the town I live in ... but sadly, just like in You've Got Mail, my children's shop around the corner closed down. It's a lovely idea though, isn't it? Owning a bookstore.
Because I've been back to university several times and have failed on three occasions to follow-through and gain a degree in any subject, I waited a few years before returning. I really needed to be sure that whatever subject I pursued next would be something worth sticking with. I needed a subject that could maintin my interest for six long years.
I knew I'd be studying with the Open University, so I requested all of the information that they had regarding undergraduate courses. I went through their prospectus and I circled every single course I'd be interested in taking. From there, I flipped to the back of the book and looked to see which degree was feasible taking those courses. I'd circled a load of courses in the social sciences section particularly but the psychology classes jumped out at me specifically.
That combined with the growing fascination that I'd had watching my Eldest growing up, learning to walk and speak and be very social made me very interested in learning more about child development. Which emphasised my growing interest in the subject of psychology. Because there's a subject that just never grows old. It touches on every aspect of life and how can anyone find 'life' boring, right? I've really hit on a good one, studying this. Three years into my degree course (which means I've lasted an entire year longer than either of my other attempts at university) and I think this one is going to stick. (..Though I don't know. I quite fancy doing a Modern Languages degree.)
I don't know that I will end up working as a psychologist when I've finished, but I figure it's still a good degree to have, one in which I could branch out with and work in nearly any field. And for now, I'm enjoying the job I have.
The best and most important job I will ever have: mother.
What did you want to be when you grow up?