When I was young I wanted to be either an actress or an archeologist. Considering I never once performed in my school play, I can’t say that I’m completely devastated that Clooney and Pitt are not, today, part of my inner circle. I mean, I am, but not because I’m not a starlet.
Archeology, now that makes me laugh out loud. I distinctly remember telling my parents that no matter what, one day I would travel to the deserts of Egypt to study the pyramids...and they couldn’t stop me. My parents nodded and told me they wholeheartedly supported my endeavor. The reason for their unwavering support, of course, was because they knew the only way I’d be digging in the sand in the middle of a desert was if someone kidnapped me and then promptly threw me out of a plane while flying over King Tut’s final resting place.
No doubt, digging would promptly ensue the moment my practically lifeless body hit the ground, as I would immediately commence tunneling back to America – home of air conditioning, ice and all things new.
So when my own children tell me what they want to be when they grow up, I try not to take it to heart.
You want to join the Coast Guard so you can fly helicopters above the ocean and be that guy that slowly gets hoisted down into the water to save that other guy in the raft?
On the inside, I want to yell out “No you’re not. That’s stupid. You’re going to be an accountant.” but since I’m an actress...I nod, smile and instead offer words of encouragement. “No you’re not. That’s stupid. You’re going to be an engineer.” Apparently, acting really wasn’t my calling, after all.
But with our oldest in college and our second child soon on her way, “what are you going to be?” has suddenly become more urgent. Unlike when I was in school and had to wing it, children these days have a plethora of online tests and tools that help them determine the perfect career choice.
Gone are the days of “maybe I’ll be an astronaut or magician,” my brother’s top two choices growing up. No, these days, the magic is gone as numbers, statistics and science can tell you exactly what you should be when you grow up.
And while I understand the reasoning behind the testing, maybe there’s something to be said about believing one day you might just be that guy who shows unflinching courage as he is slowly hoisted down into the crashing waves just in time to save that other guy in the raft.
Chances are, you’ll probably end up a risk-adverse accountant, or so your mother hopes and prays, but until then, there is nothing better than the dream of visiting far-away pyramids or diving into crashing waves to have you believing you can be anything your heart desires.
Comments? You can email Angel Kane at [email protected] Becky Andrews and Kane are the brains behind Telling Tales, a weekly column in The Democrat.