Did authors always want to grow up to be authors? Some did, of course. But most probably didn’t think of writing as a profession that they wanted to do. There’s a wide variety of jobs, and most probably wanted to do something entirely different.
Question 64 – When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a veterinarian, probably because I read All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot at a young age. But come high school I took physics instead of biology because I couldn’t stand the thought of dissecting a frog. By that time I was much more interested in human psychology anyway. Though I never went to university to study what makes people do the things they do, psychology continues to fascinate me.
First a scuba diver, then a soldier (an infantryman). I became a soldier – which I greatly enjoyed – and then transitioned to the business world. Along the way, I’ve always written (baring one 15-year hiatus), but I’ve never thought of writing as something one does for a living, and I still don’t. I don’t think I’d enjoy writing for a living. I fear the need to produce to generate income would drive me to first think about writing to sell rather than writing from the heart.
A paleontologist. I’ve always been fascinated by dinosaurs, and when I was a kid I wanted to discover one.
What didn’t I want to be when I grew up? I changed my mind multiple times throughout my childhood. The first thing I can remember wanting to be was a nurse, but only because as a child I misunderstood my mom’s job and wanted to be what she was (she was actually a personal care worker at an old folk’s residence). As I got a little older I got big into writing stories and determined that I wanted to be a writer, but then I also got big into drawing and fancied myself as a future cartoonist. At some point I also figured I was going to be a famous singer. Eventually my aspirations became a little more typical…I basically figured I’d be doing something in “technology”, which at the time meant I imagined myself sitting at a computer all day. But the one thing that I never let go of was that I knew I was going to be some kind of writer, even if it wasn’t my actual job, but more of a side-thing.
An astronaut, but then I got too big. I’m just a little too tall. I also wanted to study dinosaurs, which I have. I have a degree in geology and have worked at a dinosaur bone quarry and at a museum working with dinosaur remains. I’ve always liked archaeology and ancient cultures, so my current career as an archaeologist suits me just fine. Of course, I always wanted to be a writer, too.
A writer. Tada!
Seriously. It’s all I’ve ever wanted, and though I’ve tried many other arts and sampled many fields of science, it all comes back to just writing. I read and research and travel and interact all so that I can put everything I’ve learned back into the story.
I only remember deciding to be a teacher in sixth grade. A friend and I were really into the American Civil War and loved history. I didn’t know what I could do with history other than teach it. So, at the ripe old age of 11 I decided to be a teacher. 11 years after that, I was. Before that, I don’t remember.
I never settled on this for sure until I was out of high school. One idea that I always came back to was cooking, and that helped me decide to go to culinary school and work to become a chef. Writing is great, but I never expected it to pay the bills especially at my pace.
I wanted to be a teacher and played school with my little sister all the time. That didn’t work out so well though because by the time I was in high school, I realized I didn’t like dealing with people, and other people’s kids drove me nuts.
A Jedi, a pilot like Han Solo, or possibly some Jedi space pirate pilot combination. Obi Han Solo, perhaps. Shortly after the realization that these were unlikely professions in our galaxy, I decided I wanted to be a writer, and I guess that notion stuck with me over the years!
I wanted to be a published author. I also wanted to join the military. I give myself credit for achieving both of those goals before the age of 21. Or thereabout hahah.
I see I’m not alone in this, as I also wanted to be a palaeontologist. Well, I also wanted to be an astronomer. But I lived in Alberta, which is one of the best places to find dinosaur fossils and is home to one of the best dinosaur museums in the world. I loved reading about dinosaurs, and even took pictures of the skulls and skeletons and traced over them, trying to make more realistic pictures of them. As for astronomy, I was fascinated with space from an early age, and imagined discovering new things and studying the planets. By the time the end of high school came around, I had to make a decision. Those two passions stayed with me and are still two of my favourite things to study. I chose astronomy, even though I never worked as a professional astronomer. Sometimes, I think that if I ever go back to university, I’ll study geology with a minor in palaeontology.
How about you?
What did you want to grow up to be when you were a child? Did you become what you wanted? Let us know in the comments below.