The Proverbial “They”: What do you want to be when you grow up?
4th Grade Me: A writer.
7th Grade Me: A writer.
10th Grade Me: A writer.
Why didn’t I ever become a writer? I guess you could say in a way that I did, although not in the way I had imagined as a kid growing up.
The first poem I ever wrote was in 4th grade, titled “Apple”…
Once I ate an apple
I didn’t want to eat
I said I didn’t like it
Mom said it was a treat
I threw it in the garbage
Mom took it out and said
I’ll make you eat this apple
And I’ll shove it down your head
A little scary, but very telling on how I viewed my mother at the time.
As an awkward and lonely teen, I took to pen and paper and tried my hand at poetry. That and journaling became my outlet of expression (and therapy). In high school, I even wrote a song or two when I attempted to learn how to play guitar.
When I graduated high school, my only goal was to get away. Away from my parents, my family, my life. Truth be told, I was a pretty miserable child. No, I didn’t have it all that bad when I look back on it, at least not when I compare it to things I know now about the way the world can work sometimes. I just didn’t relate well to people. I was an extreme introvert. So I went away to community college, 300 miles away from “home.”
College People: What do you want to be when you grow up?
18 Year Old Me: …I don’t know?
By that time, it had been ingrained in my mind that writing was a hobby, one of those things people do in their free time. It was like being a musician, sure there were some lucky few who made a successful full-time career out of it, but these were the exceptions and not the rules. Plus, if I majored in English, they’d make me read and write all kinds of “crap” I had no interest in, which I never found fun, and what would I do with an English degree anyway?
Okay, so what else do I want to do with my life? I had no idea what I wanted to do, I just wanted it to matter. I wanted to “help people.” So naturally, I chose Psychology as a major.
Little did I know that being a Psychology major was very writing intensive. It wasn’t until I finished my Associates degree at the community college and started at a university that I had to select a minor study. Minor? Apparently it wasn’t optional, so the adviser read off a list of options and I chose the one I thought sounded closest to what I was already doing. Social Work, I later learned, was another very writing intensive study.
Needless to say, I became very well acquainted with writing and APA format in the 7 years it took me to complete my Bachelor of Arts degree in 2007. (It really only took five and a half years if you don’t count the 3 non-consecutive semesters I took off here and there. I worked full time to put myself through college.)
In 2008, I became a social worker. One might not see how being a social worker would involve much writing, but au contraire! I was required to document everything and in significant detail.
After high school, I didn’t do much poetry writing. I even stopped journaling after a few years of being in college. I have done some blogging here and there. In 2011, three years into my social work career, I decided to do an online Master’s degree program which was another very writing intensive two years, and by 2013 I earned a Master of Science in Psychology.
Did I mention I still had no idea what I really wanted to do with my life? I was 30 years old by then. Sure, I had gained quite a bit of experience, expertise, and confidence with my life in general at that point, but I was incredibly unhappy with my job at that time and pretty burnt out. So I thought I would try my hand at being an Entrepreneur and start my own Life Coaching business on the side while I looked for other “opportunities” at work. I completed an online certification, read tons of books on how to be an actual life coach, maintained a life coaching blog, and even wrote and self-published a couple of life-coaching books (Self Esteem and Personal Relationships). I ultimately ended up closing my life coaching business when another opportunity presented itself at my full time job, but I learned a lot from my time doing the life coaching.
A couple of years ago while I was at the gym one day, on the treadmill, I got an idea for a story line for a book. I went home and actually started writing it. I think I wrote about two, maybe three chapters before I set it down, and I didn’t pick it back up until a few weeks ago during the week between Christmas and New Year’s that I took off from work. My 2-3 chapters turned into 10. I actually had a real-life novella on my hands!
More about my new book in progress to come! Watch for my next post.