What Did You Want To Be … When You Grew Up?

My Dad is a retired doctor.  He spent over 40 years in the profession and as the eldest son of a career physician, I am always asked why I didn’t choose to become a doctor myself.

There is the simple answer and then there is the more complicated answer.

The simple answer is that I hated the smell of the infirmary where he worked.  Growing up, I spent hours and hours after school sitting in his office waiting for him to be done for the day and I couldn’t wait to get out of the place.

It’s amazing how little things like that color our judgement and completely govern our perception and our life’s journey, but I knew very clearly from those tedious afternoons of inhaling disinfectant, listening to people sneeze and cough, and thumbing through his endless pile of back issues of the Journal of American Medicine Association, that I would never want to become a doctor.

It just didn’t appeal to me in the first place.  And this is what I always tell people.

But, this leads to the more complicated answer. 

The more complicated answer is that I basically wasn’t “smart enough” to become a doctor.  I was always an indifferent student and was particularly turned off by the very subjects that would be required to prepare for medical school.

Furthermore, I didn’t have the courage.  I was never quite sure that even if all other things were equal, that I would be able to function effectively in life-or-death situations.  To me, being a doctor was a huge responsibility and I didn’t know if I could handle it.

So … there you have it.

I didn’t like the smells.  Maybe if he burned incense or had a chocolate chip cookie candle in his lobby, I’d be a doctor today.

I didn’t have the smarts.  Maybe if I wasn’t ADD and didn’t have a math learning disability .. or maybe if I wasn’t terminally lazy, I’d be a doctor today

I didn’t have the guts.  Maybe if the thought of holding the life of another human being in my hands wasn’t just too scary, I’d be a doctor today.

     At any rate … three strikes and I was OUT!

So, that’s what I DIDN’T want to be.  But, this blog poses the question, “What DID you want to be when you grew up?”

Well, honestly, I have always wanted to become a writer.  

     … to write stories

          … to write poems

               … to write songs. 

I just wanted to be a writer … but, outside of an abortive attempt at an early career as a news reporter, I just never got around to doing what I really wanted to do.

Like so very many people, I just let the years slip by without trying to find my voice as a writer, until the day that I discovered blogging and had it suggested to me that WordPress was the easiest way to get started.

So now, I’m a writer.  Not a professional mind you.  Maybe not even a particularly good amateur … but, I’m writing, so by definition, I’m a writer.

I’m not making a living at it, but I’m finally doing what I always wanted to do.

How about you?  What did you want to be when you grew up?  Have you gotten there yet?


About Judson

Late bloomer ... aspiring writer and musician.
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9 Responses to What Did You Want To Be … When You Grew Up?

  1. akarmin says:

    reminds me of a quote by Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest or the smartest that survive, but those best suited to deal with change.”

  2. territerri says:

    I wanted to be a teacher. But my dad told me I couldn’t be a teacher because teachers don’t make enough money. In his effort not to have me living check to check the way he did, he insisted I couldn’t do the thing I most wanted to do. And I showed him. I quit college and ended up doing things the hard way.

    But it all turned out okay. I’m working in a field I very much enjoy, and I really have no desire to be a teacher anymore. I never wanted to be a writer. It’s just not something I ever thought about doing for a living. But now that I’m older, like you, I’ve realized that writing is something I’ve always found rewarding. So now I’m a writer too 🙂

    • Judson says:

      I actually taught high school for a while. It was tough. Way too little teaching, way too much babysitting. I am in awe of good teachers who are able to devote their lives to it. Obviously they are doing what they want to do and finding it rewarding. That’s what it’s all about.

  3. I wanted to be a rock star, but it didn’t work out. (at all!) I became a country doctor and a semiprofessional mandolinist, then a writer later in life. My book, “The Mandolin Case” is a medical legal mystery resolved by musicians. Check out the reviews on Amazon and in the N.C. “Our State” magazine.

    Most likely it wasn’t that you weren’t smart enough to be a doctor, but more that you were smart enough not to be one! As you know, it is a tough gig.

    Dr. B

  4. nrhatch says:

    I wanted to be a rock star.
    I wanted to be a simultaneous interpreter at the United Nations.
    I wanted to be an attorney.
    I wanted to be a writer.

    Who I am is who I want to be. So, yes, I am there. 🙂

    Great post, Judson.

    • Judson says:

      You are definitely a rock star of the blogging world!


    • nrhatch says:

      Thanks, Judson!

      My favorite aspect of this post:

      “So now, I’m a writer. Not a professional mind you. Maybe not even a particularly good amateur … but, I’m writing, so by definition I’m a writer.

      “I’m not making a living at it, but I’m finally doing what I always wanted to do.”

      It is in the doing that we become. I always enjoy your writing ~ clear, crisp, and sincere! Aimed at sharing your “truth” with the world, rather than saying what you think people want to read.

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