Along with Nancy Drew and a Solid Gold dancer, when I was younger I wanted to be an artist and a writer.
I was forever drawing something. Fashion designs. Interior design. Pictures of my family and pets. Comic strips and cartoon characters. I still have tons of sketches and drawings from when I was younger.
I fell in love with writing at about the same time that I learned how to read. I wanted to be able to spin stories that would take people out of themselves and their lives, that would let them escape for a little while.
I never, ever considered writing as a career. I can't pinpoint why unless it came down to a realization that very few people ever made money from it.
Art, however, I did consider. For a long time, I wanted to be an art teacher with my own studio/gallery on the side.
And then tenth grade hit. We had to take career aptitude tests. I was excited in my geeky little way. I was always good at tests, and I was sure that this one would give me my anticipated results.
Boy was I wrong.
This particular test narrowed your career choices to three distinct possibilities. Mine were teacher, psychologist, and clergy. Art? A distant third by way of category groupings. (Writing? Not even on the list.)
And do you know what I did? Gave up my dream. Threw it out the window. I was fifteen; what did I know? If a career aptitude test administered to me by trusted and educated adults told me that I was to forget my silly notion of becoming an artist, then so be it.
I belatedly realize what I have done. I ignored my calling. I chose paths that led me to people that I love. I can never begrudge that, and I would never trade that part of my life for anything in the whole, entire universe.
But did I screw up when it comes to career and calling? Sure did. I see that more every day. I see that when I sit in my classroom thinking that there's no way in hell that I can do it for twenty more years. I see that when I feel my heart swell over a picture I took or a turn of phrase that I wrote. I see that with the feedback I get on my words and images.
I screwed up.
And now? I have to get back on the path. I can't give up my career; I have a family to consider and a life to which I've grown accustomed. But I need to do more than just dream. I need to find a way to elevate what I've let become mere hobbies.
I feel in my very soul that there is something on the horizon for me, that I am meant for something bigger than myself. And I'm scared to death that I'm going to miss it if I don't figure out what it is soon.