Astronaut, Oceanographer, Actor, Teacher…Author?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What? Grow up? Photo: Kids by gemteck1 (CC BY 2.0)
Photo: Kids by gemteck1 (CC BY 2.0)

What? Grow UP?

I’m sure you’ve been asked the question. I know I have. I wanted to be a great many things when I ‘grew up’. And in the end, I became something even better.

♦ Astronaut.
I’d seen a documentary and thought that would be the coolest job in the world. Only thing is, I don’t deal with inertia well. I’ve been on one roller-coaster ride in my life and that was more than enough. A never to be repeated experience, thank you very much. Plus when I started to learn about space at school, it was interesting but it didn’t grab me. It would have been a hard slog learning all the science involved. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. I was and am, much happier letting the stars of Star Wars, Star Trek and Firefly fly me through their imaginary space.

♦ Oceanographer
If you know me for any length of time, you know I’m a tragic Titanic fanatic. Not the 1997 movie. I was crazy about the Titanic long before that. Since the day my brother received a book by Robert Ballard on the Titanic, for his 11th birthday. He wasn’t that interested, but the second I got my hands on that book, I was hooked. At first it was just the ship, then ship wreaks in general, then oceanic plates, marine life, even down to Hydrothermal Vents and black smokers. The underwater world fascinates me. My attention has long since departed from the extraterrestrial and fixed itself firmly in the deep. The Titanic will always be a love of mine, but I will watch any documentary, read any book or article on underwater exploration. For all my interest in that world within a world, I never got the chance to study Oceanography. Life had other plans.

♦ Actor
For some reason people never expect shy, introverted kids to like acting. It’s the life for the extroverts. The attention-seekers. The little show offs. So when I saw my first live play (and a musical to boot – Annie) when I was 13, I never thought to ever be on the stage. The very same year, I was allowed to take drama at school. And loved it. I may have been shy, I may have been teased, I may have been uncomfortable in my own skin…but on stage – I wasn’t me. I was a character breathed to life with costumes and lights. It was magical. And apparently I had enough talent and tanacity to make it through all 4 years of high school drama with straight A’s. I signed up for any musical going and became a member of the amateur theatre company. I never got the leads, but I always got the roles I auditioned for. And once I got a minor lead because with ten days to go the actor pulled out, and the director know I could learn the lines in time, and hit it out of the ball park. Which…cough….I did.  (Actually, come to think of it…that happened three times. I got minor leads because other people pulled out at the last minute. )
The first time my husband saw me, I was on stage. He said I wasn’t the prettiest girl there, but I was the most magnetic. I owned that stage, and he couldn’t take his eyes off me. I love acting. But I haven’t done it in years. Yet again, life took me away from my plans to audition for NIDA, and to have a go at the life of an actor. (Probably, just as well 🙂 )

♦ Teacher
Those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach. That’s what they say. I couldn’t be an Actor, but I could do the next best thing. I could be an English and Drama teacher. That at least, was solid, mostly predicable work. I had plans for it. I had the course picked out, and the university application letters in my hand. I had it all worked out. But again, that little four letter word ‘life’ got in the way. It threw such a huge curve ball, that we ended up moving states, towns, comfort zones, and leaving that particular dream behind.  I could no longer afford the luxury of dreaming about attending university. I needed a job, and it was a case of ‘any job’. Right now.

♦ Admin Officer
And that’s how I started in Admin. Admin was never something I ever dreamed of doing as a kid. I never looked up at the stars imagining that one day I’d work at an office, behind a computer, shuffling papers. But it’s funny how life works out. Since I was in Admin anyway, I did the trade certificates that went with it. So I am a qualified, more than a decade employed, Admin officer. Not an Astronaut, not an Oceanographer, not an actor, not even a teacher. An Admin officer.

Never, never, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d be an Author. Sure I loved reading. Still do. Sure I used to waste time scribbling crappy stories, and pretend interviews with imaginary people on scrap paper and notepads long disappeared. People didn’t write books. Books just magically appeared on the shelves of libraries. Didn’t they?
Then one day I had an idea. I didn’t like how the ending of a show happened, and I complained to my husband.
I said “It should have ended this way.”.
And he said the immortal words. “Well, write it.”
And I did. 8 months later, I had a 102,000 word manuscript and the bug had bitten hard. Nearly nine years after that, I published my first book. I am an Author. For nine years I dreamed I would be, and for 15 months I have been.

It just goes to show. What you think you’re going to be ‘when you grow up’, may never happen. Life has a funny way of putting up road blocks, but at the same time takes you on a journey that leads to places you could never have imagined.

7 thoughts on “Astronaut, Oceanographer, Actor, Teacher…Author?

  1. Indeed it’s funny how the life goes. But as long as you find satisfaction in your job (or at least it pays for the bills) and have passions, all is good, isn’t it?
    As for me, when I was little, I wanted to be a witch or a ninja warrior, so I guess it would be hard to make these a professional career. Especially the ninja side of it, I’ve always been a bit of a clutz.
    My grandfather, my aunt, and my mom are teachers, and my grandmother worked at university (though at its admin side), so I played school a lot when I was a kid, though never strongly considered it as a career. Of course, I ended up doing a BA in teaching and even taught for a while. Funny enough, I’m good at it and apparently I have it in my blood. 🙂
    Aside that, languages have been quite a passion for me and few years ago I ended up as a video games (another passion) translator.
    And writing? I’ve always made up stories and I’ve always read a lot (I learned to read fluently at the age of 4 or 5), so I guess writing came natural, first as a non-binding hobby, then becoming more and more serious.

    • You’re right about the passions. I love my day job. Not only is the work and people great, it’s a job I can finish at the end of the day and not worry about until I walk in again the next morning.
      It allows me to follow my dream and work on my ‘hobby’ of being an author.

  2. I wasn’t very original, I wanted to be a ballerina when I graw up and later an archeologist. Now that I think about it, I never really wanted to be an author either 😉

      • You know, I think it’s one of those things that just are. Do I love to be brunette? I just am. Sure, I could dye my hair and pretend I’m blonde, but I’d know (and I suspect people would guess) what I really am.

        Being a storyteller is the same thing, in my opinion (like being a musician, or a mathematic, or an organiser). That’s how you’re born and how you see the world.
        We storytellers see the world in terms of stories. Mathematics (I suppose) see the world in terms of numbers and relations. It’s part of us just like any other aspect of us, being that physical or spiritual.

        I don’t think we can choose 😉
        If you can choose (like me being a ballerina) it means that’s what you want, not what you are.

  3. I wanted to be a florist and i became a florist, but after moving to the tropics i needed a career change because flowers dont do well here, and i must say, i ❤️my job in aged care, it is perfect for me.😊

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