When I fist moved to Cambridge, I took a number of temporary jobs just to have some income. One of the more challenging was substitute teaching. At that time, in NY state, you didn’t need to be certified or even have a teaching background, you just needed a bachelor’s degree to substitute teach. We were required to fill out forms that asked which schools, grades and classes we were available for, and having never done it before, I checked every category from boys high school physical education to kindergarten. Back in my own high school days, I thought that I might want to be an art teacher and I’m very grateful that I didn’t pursue that path. I found out quickly that public school teaching was not my calling. What I really wanted to do with the kids was play, draw, color, nap and let them go a little too wild!
I really had no idea what I wanted to be when I “grew up”, and that dreadful question was asked on a pretty regular basis, always with the intimation that I should somehow know the answer (which could be found on a piece of paper containing boxes to be checked; teacher, nurse, doctor, engineer….). “Have fun, laugh, play and day-dream were not on the list. We were supposed to pick a career path and stay on it until we retired with a pension and benefits.
The questions, “What do you love doing?”, “If you could just sit and think about an ideal day, what would that feel like?”, “Have you ever considered that who you are, and the mission that you came here to fill, will be revealed and may change?”…these were not the ideas that were presented to many of us, and that is just the way it was, but what about now? Why not ask ourselves these questions now? Why not broaden the meaning of “career” to cover who we want to be as people sharing this very short life experience with billions of others, all trying to find our individual ways.
What do I want to be? I want to be an open-hearted, loving woman. Ready every day to be delighted and surprised by the wonder of this life. I want to be kind and fun and warm and focused. I think that is a good start.
“I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.” Harry S. Truman
(I think that this advise is equally applicable to us adults!)
One of my favorite songs by the Beatles (I’m only sleeping) is below