We all hear it and say it a thousand-plus times: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As a boomer finally getting to enjoy playtime in retirement, I think more about a second childhood than about adulthood. Wouldn’t that mean all the fun is over?
As a pre-teen I had a list of exotic answers to share with grown-ups who asked, all the while ignoring that I held school regularly on the front steps, distributing chalk and instructions to neighbor students. Among my dream roles were:
*singer/dancer – I was a Julie Andrews fan.
*private eye – Nancy Drew influence
*policeman – Females can enforce laws, too, hands on hips.
*comedian – I made people laugh without meaning to, so creating laughter on purpose couldn’t be that hard.
*zookeeper – Except for the reptiles–eww
*inventor – I was clueless what was missing, but I didn’t lack for confidence thinking I could produce it anyway.
*famous author/treasure seeker – For some reason those two still go together in my head.
In retrospect, it’s not surprising I became a teacher. It was a way of getting to do all mentioned above. Music enhances learning. Isn’t that how most of us leaned the ABC’s? Movement does, too; that’s my definition of dance. Any classroom teacher will attest to having developed superb detective skills along with a set of eyes on the back of her head. Are there any better rule enforcers than teachers on duty? I could still tickle funny bones without meaning to, and learned early on not to ask why ’cause kids WILL tell you! I taught elementary through high school and drove a big yellow bus; it seemed like zoo keeping at times. Most teachers are inventors by nature. Plans go awry due to myriad interruptions to precious class time so we invent modifications on the fly.
I do write. One might argue I still have time to write a whole book instead of a bunch of columns, but I am too mesmerized by the ongoing treasure hunt to sit still that long. There are so many priceless words, thoughts, stories, ideas, personalities and locales left to discover. May we all have nuggets we cherish. Keep the search alive!
(Originally appeared in my Close to Home column in The Prospect-News. Positivity to ponder for a new year).