Playing Dress Up…Still.
October 29, 2008
Like most people, my answer to “What do I want to be when I grow up?” has seen many evolutions.
As a child you dream of professions you know nothing about. The jobs with the best outfits win. Little girls want to be ballerinas or princesses, little boys firemen or policemen. The limits of these careers are unknown to you, you have no fear of danger or rejection to deter you from dreaming. The practicalities of life are unbeknownst to you.
As you get a little older, you become aware of more possibilities, bus driver, grocery store cashier, teacher. Your world view expands with every journey outside the house. Maybe you dream of wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase like dad (or mom!), or working at the toy store for the obvious perks. It’s fun to dream and change your dreams daily. The reality of “grown up” seems so far away.
My own dreams were to be an art teacher, then a lawyer. I’m sure there were others, but those are the ones I remember. I should have spent more time dreaming, for all too quickly I found myself 17 years old and facing college applications with the dreaded “pick your major” checkbox. I knew nothing of the world. I had seen only a fraction of the potential options and I was supposed to define myself and hundreds of future small talk discussions by the box I checked. I was lost, but I had to choose something, so I settled on theatre lighting design and went off to college.
After 3 years I wondered what the hell I was doing and had major regrets. Too far in to quit and pick something new, but too far from the end to just suck it up and finish, I dropped out. I got a job doing event planning, which used just enough of my degree to make my parents feel like they hadn’t just wasted thousands of dollars on my education.
A few years later, when I moved to NY I took the first (and only) job offered to me, which is how I ended up as a legal assistant to a record label. Practicality (and an obscenely high rent) dictated my career choices now. Dreams of avoiding homelessness and affording food overshadowed the dreams of youth.
After 5 years of practical thinking, I’m ready to dream again. Recently I started my own photography/photo retouching company and l am loving it. I fear I don’t have the skills to do it professionally, but I’m going to try.
If only I had the career fearlessness I had as a child. I’d be one rocking photo retoucher in a tutu I imagine.