Monday, February 4, 2008
What I Want To Be When I Grow Up
When I was very young, and by that I mean five or six years old - not thirty, I asked my Dad to drive me to Hollywood so that I could 'sign up' to be a movie star. He didn't. We lived in New Jersey and it would have been a very long drive, and our old station wagon struggled just to get us to Ocean City. Hollywood was out of the question.
I settled, for a time, on a much more stable career. Veterinary Medicine. That dream fell by the way side, too, though. Not because of an aging automobile and hundreds of thousands of miles of roadway between me and my destination, but because of the thousands of miles between my intellectual ability and the heafty science requirements required for the DVM. But I never gave up the constant desire for the spot light or the compelling need to rescue every helpless animal I see.
Introspection, and a few of those annoying personality tests that guidance counselor's make you take, convinced me that I was better suited to a career that involved argueing and yelling. Kind of. My personality reviews always came back telling me to pursue one of the following three: Army Seargent, Lawyer or Figure Skater. No kidding. I couldn't make something that silly up if I tried. You really have to think hard to see how 'figure skater' fits into that triad. When you recall Tanya Harding up to bat in the early nineties, and Nancy Kerrigan yelling at Mickey Mouse in Disney World, it becomes a bit more understandable. Still, I don't see a whole lot of similarities between the job requirements of a figure skater and a lawyer. Maybe thats because I never became a figure skater. And Army Seargent? Well, all I can say is, though I loooove to boss people around, I am just not a morning person.
Nope. Figure Skating and revelry were not my skills. But argueing? Now that I could do. I grew up in a family infamous for their argueing ability. Seriously. Ask any of our old neighbors how good we all were at argueing. Or ask our friends, now they won't argue this point. Short on opinions we weren't, either. Timid about expressing our opinions we also weren't. I do believe I've got some siblings that carried on some good arguements when they were completely alone in the house. We were loud, too. Even our Italian neighbors gave us props for our ability to argue, and argue loudly.
Anyway, without maligning my dear sibs further, suffice it to say I had the skill set. Whats more, being a trial lawyer gives me a little stage and a little (non paying, often unwilling) audience on a steady basis. Of course, there is usually a guy in a robe on a bench that cuts me off just when I'm on a roll. (There's always a critic)
So here I was, for a time, living out my dreams (or at least the dreams a highschool guidance counselor had for me) of performing on the big stage....er.....advocating effectively for my client in the small courtroom, and having a blast living the single life in the city. I had a good job, a Neiman Marcus charge card that I was not afraid to use, and a cool loft apartment in Olde City (that I shared with an increasing number of stray, homeless, abused and neglected dogs and cats). It was fun. I was fun. I even managed to throw some fundraising parties for homeless animals and get my picture in local newspapers (again, that spot light thing).
I grew up and found myself living in the suburbs, married and expecting a child. Not that any of this is bad stuff. Its not. Its all great stuff that I really, really want. But the odd thing is that I don't know when it was that I started to really, really want this and when I stopped really, really wanting the other stuff. The spotlight. Hollywood. Veterinary Medicine. Bossing people around. Going to Court. Stuart Weisman slingbacks. Loft apartments and sportscars.
I grew up. That really means I grew old. My favorite phrase used to be 'It's 5:00 somewhere'. Now, my favorite phrase is '40 is the new 30'.
I don't want the spotlight anymore. I just don't have enough good hair days and whoever I am standing next to invariably looks skinnier and younger than me. And forget Hollywood! Have you watched ET? I do (religiously, it takes the place of the gossipfests I used to have with my single friends). What a bunch of loosers! Paris Hilton?!? Yikes. (As we would say during sorority rush of someone like her.....'not our kind') Britney Spears!?! I still love animals, but I know now that I would never be able to handle the emotional trauma that Veterinarians have to deal with. I'm better at saving the little furry souls from the street and shelling out the cash for their medical care (and foregoing the Stuart Weisman slingbacks that, quite frankly, hurt my feet now that I'm the 'new' 30). Uh, lets see. Bossing people around is no fun anymore. It just makes me look cranky and pre menstrual. Court is dull. (but please, if you get the opportunity to serve as a juror, do show up. You can be arrested if you don't).
As for the loft apartment? Well, there just wouldn't be enough room for the crib, the baby bath, swings, bikes, SUV, treadmill and, oh yes, my darling husband's 6 foot statue of Humphrey Bogart that stands in our living room (darling husband has not, unlike me, grown up yet).
So what do I want to be when I grow up? I should know because it really seems like I've arrived at 'grown up'.
I want to be able to cook enough dinners on Sunday that can be easily heated up as left overs during the week to keep us off the overly processed, bad for you stuff.
I really want to find a good dust mop that I can get to reach all the way up to the ceiling corners and get the dust bunnies.
I've found a great dry cleaner (environmentally friendly) and shoe repairer, but I'd love a pair of Easy Spirit shoes that look like Manolo Blanik's.
Do I try to live through my daughter? Send her to figure skating lessons and groom her to be the president of her sorority (sorry, President of the United States is too much of a thankless job. And as a women's libber, I believe we can strive to be whatever we want to be, no matter how silly and pointless the goal)?
I may be here, already at my destination. Happy. Content. And ready to learn to be.............