Thank you to Bunny for tagging me to do the Dream Meme! We share two dreams, as it turns out. Guess which ones, then check hers to see.
Part of the reason it’s taken a while to get to this is that it taps into a Long, Serious, Navel-Gazing Post that’s been lurking in the back of my mind for a while, the theme of which is that I have a graduate degree in geology, but I’m not suited to, not especially good at, and don’t like the jobs I’ve had as a geologist, so I probably won’t get back into it when I’m looking for paid work again. That means a “second career,” which feeds into all the hackneyed crap that’s been written and said about re-entering the workforce as a middle-aged mother with no tangible qualifications. I’m not ready to face it yet.
But for now, good grief, it’s just a meme, so I should relax and type, already. Instructions are to “write five things you want to be when you grow up. Big dreams that seem like folly, but in your heart of hearts are very real and dear to you. Things that maybe you have forgotten about in the ebb and flow and toil of the everyday, but that never really leave your soul. What would you do if anything was possible?”
OK, in my heart of hearts, I'd like to be a(n):
1. Nutritionist. I love it when I read something like “pomegranate contains anthocyanins, compounds which protect tissues from free radicals, have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, lower risk of cardiovascular and neurological conditions, lower blood pressure, aid in oxidation of LDL cholesterol, and improve blood flow.” (Holy cow! I want pomegranates in my house right now! I want them to do the dishes and vacuum under the couch, too!) It makes me want to learn all about anthocyanins and how they do this stuff, and whether the hype is substance or hot air, and how much of it comes from the Association of Desperate Pomegranate Growers. I’ve also read that cinnamon has blood sugar-regulating properties -- that’s so cool! -- and a thousand other things about a thousand other mysterious compounds that we can get in good, whole, fresh foods. I want to know all that stuff -- I want to organize and store and relay and USE all that information instead of just reading it in Cooking Light and saying “huh. Nifty.”
2. Editor. This dream is a bit more than pie-in-the-sky. I do get to do some editing once in a while, and to my delight I’ve found that I’m very good at it. I can spot a typo, misspelled word or misplaced comma at two hundred yards, so that’s useful, but I’ve also got a very good ear for the right word, and a knack for questions of style, order, and consistency. I love this kind of work. You know how sometimes when you’re doing something that comes easily and seems kind of fun, like you might enjoy it for a hobby, or you can’t NOT do it, it’s hard to believe you’re being paid for it? No? Me neither. But this would be how an editing job would feel to me, some days.
3. From the sublime to the ridiculous: Rock star. Now of course you are thinking “but Sandy, as a geologist, aren’t you already a rock star? Ha! Ha!” But putting aside the fact that I wasn’t exactly stellar at geology, I mean rock star in the non-gooberish* sense. Specifically drummer, or bass guitarist. Do you ever hear a stretch of music that makes you put everything else down and just melt with it, become part of it? When that happens to me, I don’t mentally put myself on the lead guitar, or singing lead vocals. What makes me happiest is to get under the music -- find the bass line or the percussion, and groove with that while the other parts soar all around. I have some rhythm aptitude, potentially strong arms, and a definite need to bang on things, and I’ve heard enough stupid drummer jokes to know that this is all it takes to succeed in that business, right? So I think I’ll join a band and bang the bongos and be a rock star. Heh. That ain't workin'. That would, well, rock.
*I looked up goober, expecting to read "see: dork." But "goober" means "peanut." Who knew? Which brings me to:
4. Librarian. Really. Stay with me on this. Library Science is one of the academic Paths Not Taken that I’m kind of wistful about, and which I would consider even now if there were a local program. I love libraries, yes. (One of many reasons it was hard to get work done in college is that the dorm was too distracting, and the library was too tempting. I could wander the stacks for hours. Days. Probably weeks, with the occasional sandwich delivered by an unseen someone and cleverly left for me to discover next to a biography of the Earl of Sandwich! Hm. Too obvious, maybe.) But more importantly for a career choice, I’m drawn to the methodical, the systematic, the orderly (see my alphabetized spice rack? Right, well, maybe that’s a few blocks past “drawn to” and into “compulsive about,” so never mind). I’m jazzed by knowing how to dig up all kinds of information. I am delighted to discover a new reference. I think our nation’s libraries should be funded on the scale of, say, the space shuttle program. They should be hallowed halls, sacred places, repositories of learning both ancient and new. And they should be accessible and pleasant places, but that’d have to be someone else’s domain, because although I could love specialized or university library work, in a public setting I might be prone to becoming one of those don’t-touch-my-archives-till-you’ve-proven-you’re-worthy type librarians. Yikes.
5. Therapist. This has actually been suggested to me from time to time. I’m a perceptive, calm and thoughtful person, grounded, sometimes insightful, occasionally even wise. I listen effectively. I am supportive, open-minded, hard to shock. There isn’t much I haven’t heard. I don’t think there’s much I couldn’t help people through. In fact the only reason I don’t hang a shingle right now is for lack of honest credentials. Someone mail me some honest credentials, mkay?
In truth I think patience is my limiting factor here, and aside from the practical considerations of getting an appropriate degree and setting up shop, that’s what prevents me from pursuing this dream in real life. I wouldn’t be very good with addiction therapy, for instance, or with situations where people have more invested in complaining about the status quo than they’re willing to give up to make changes. I’m solution-oriented and not always very good at not seeing progress. Still, I know that I have a talent for listening to people and helping them with what’s on their minds, so it’s a possibility I never really let go.
So there it is. I know none of it (except the rock star part, and I even made that as uncool as possible) is particularly thrilling. It’s as if I get a chance to do a no-holds-barred dream list and all I can come up with is “um... so I’ve always secretly wanted to be an actuary...” But what I want, when the time comes, is a job that 1) taps my aptitudes 2) happens in a setting that suits my personality, and 3) adds some good to the world, for lack of a better way to say that.
Think how exciting your dreams will look by comparison! If you read this, and you want to do it, consider yourself tagged. Let me know where to find your list.