When I was eleven, my teacher asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. I pondered that question with all earnestness and narrowed my options down to three: doctor, writer, teacher.
She suggested I might want to narrow my choices further for the sake of the essay we were going to write, so I asked her for advice. She said one should choose with passion; one should look forward to going to work every day.
I nixed “doctor” when she asked me how I felt about cutting people open, the sight of blood, and caring for the sick and dying. That was eye-opening and I quickly switched my essay topic to something less “passionate” - teacher, and years later, saw that become a reality.
Fast forward thirty-seven years, and I retired from a career where I was required to work twelve to fifteen-hour days, seven days a week. I spent my “vacation” time taking classes, compiling research, and writing curriculum units without pay. Only those close to me witnessed the hours I dedicated during my time off or the amount of my own money I invested fortifying classrooms with the necessary supplies and books we needed.
If it sounds like grousing, it isn’t. I loved that career. I was passionate about it and looked forward to going to work every day until I retired. A career well done takes time, effort, money, determination, dedication.
I am pursuing a second career now, an encore to the life I had before. To pursue a career in writing takes all of the above plus more. I am passionate about it. I cannot go a day without writing something. Pencils and pens lie in every room. Stacks of papers cover tables and bed stands. Ideas surface at the oddest times and places, and I gleefully annoy everyone around me with my latest inspirations.
My sixth-grade teacher would be proud of me today. I am still taking her advice.