So, what did I want to be when I was little?
What did I want to be?
I can’t distinctly remember every ambition, but I know there was a marine biologist, an actress, a baseball player, Mariah Carey, a teacher (for the summers off, not the humanitarian efforts,) a vet, a lawyer (to get paid to argue, most certainly not for the humanitarian efforts,) Evie from “Out of this World,” an artist, and Sylvester Stallone’s love child during the “Rocky” years thrown into the mix at some point.
Because who wouldn’t want to pause and un-pause time, "gleep" objects into existence and transport herself from one place to another?
My mom’s answer as to what I wanted to be?
That I wanted to be the boss of me, and quite possibly, the boss of a few other people (my minions, I was told. Muah-ha-ha.) It’s not that I was bossy, but rather that I liked to be in charge of getting things done and having say over how I spent my time.
That time was usually spent doing more than one thing at once. If the TV was on, I was also coloring. If I was in the car, I was also reading or drawing. Yes, I was the nerd that would read ahead in class because I already had my work done.
My point being, I think I’ve always felt entitled to my time and how it’s spent.
Now I’m technically an adult and it’s assumed that my maturity level is slightly higher than that of the little girl who dreamed of being either a half-alien with supernatural powers or the bastard child of an aging movie star. But some things haven’t changed.
I still feel a sense of entitlement over my time and still kind of wish I was Mariah Carey.
(If only because she’s married to Nick Cannon, who is very easy on the eyes. Plus, she has boobs.)
I still just somehow want to be the boss of me.
*Here is where I add the disclaimer that I work in a good environment, they are flexible with my neurosis and I’m grateful for my job. This is more about the general system and has nothing to do with the place at all.
It has to do with the fact that the little girl with plans to be her own boss—after saving the whales and starring in a major motion picture—has turned into a hippie-dippie adult with a “real” job who still wants something more.
While I realize the impracticality of my desires, I would like more control of my time.
See, even though I have no desire to climb any corporate ladder, I’m a darn good employee. My work gets done thoroughly, usually early and I tend to have higher expectations than others do for the work that I do. But here’s the thing. Regardless of how I get my work done, my butt is still expected to be stuck in that chair for the duration of the day and I’m still expected to be at my best during those hours.
In essence, I’m paid for time and not for effort.
Six-year-old Abby would find this absurd, and 29-year-old Abby is not far behind (however, 29-year-old Abby has a house payment and 6-year-old Abby had a blanket fort—rent free.)
It seems there are countless hours and days when my time is not my own, when it really belongs to those that sign my paycheck (again, see disclaimer above. It’s nothing personal.*) It feels a bit selfish, a bit immature, but I sometimes resent that what I do is measured in minutes and not merit.
I feel cheated.
Cheated out of what, I’m not quite sure. Maybe out of a little bit of control, of a little bit of creativity, of a little bit of individuality. Maybe out of a little bit of energy towards things I want to do, things that rarely conveniently fall at a time after “traditional” business hours. (And in a cruel plot twist, things I don’t get paid to do, such as rambling on a blog.)
My brain does not differentiate between business hours and the few left over at the end of the day, just as it doesn’t differentiate between weekends and professional production. I get some of my best ideas for both at the most random times.
This leads me to believe that I would be just as—if not more—productive if not confined to restrictions of other’s conventional schedules.
I know it’s unrealistic, but so is thought that it’s one-size-fits-all when it comes to these things…and that a 60-year-old would still be boxing.
But instead of holding my breath in protest (while coloring and watching TV) like 6-year-old marine biologist/child actor Abby would have done, I suppose I should exhale and just keep keepin’ on for now—considering they pay me to write words, even if they’re not the words I really want to write (again, see disclaimer.* It’s not personal.)
Being an adult means reconciling the fact that what you want to be is sometimes shaped by what you have to be, at least for a little while. That doesn’t mean I’m giving up, as much like my fictional philandering father Rocky Balboa, I’m a fighter.
No, one day I’ll be asked, “What did you want to be?”
I’ll say with a smile, “What did I want to be? Just what I am—a woman who’s paid to write from the heart, in control of her time and her efforts…and possibly named by Billboard magazine in their "Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years."
And as the boss of me, I’ll accept that two out of three ain’t bad.
I think it’s kind of obvious what I wish I could be (a half-alien with supernatural powers from an early ‘90s TV show that gets paid to write witty tidbits from home—duh.)
What did you want to be? If that’s not what you are, why aren’t you?
I feel cheated too. I feel as if I did what my parents thought I should instead of listening to myself. *Sigh*
I think society is moving away from conventional work hours and hopefully at some point you can cut a deal with your boss to work from home some or all of the time. You are just too damn efficient 🙂
I’m glad you aren’t Mariah Carey. No offense but the pop star I wanted to be is way better (or was back in the day): Madonna. I used to dress up like her and go to town singing into my hairbrush. Years later my Dad admitted that he could hear me singing in my room when he was cutting the lawn. Oh dear god. I love to sing but have always known that this bitch can’t carry a tune. Poor Dad.
I had completely forgotton about that show by the way. It was a great one! Ah, the good old days.
Besides Madonna, I was going to be an Olympian gymnast, an architect a la Frank Lloyd Wright (plus Howard Roark mixed in), Steffi Graf and list goes on. Overall I’m getting to the point that I’m ok being myself though. Go figure.
Madonna huh? I can see that. 😉 With me I don’t even think it’s a matter of being “too” efficient, although I often do find myself looking for things to fill the time. I think Cordelia said it perfectly up above. I hesitate to complaint too much, as I am grateful for what I have and like I said, it’s nothing personal. I just think different people have different work styles and personalities. At the end of the day, I’m also pretty OK being myself too. Go figure 😉
I’ve gone from wanting to be a general practitioner (like my cousin) to a video game or computer programmer, to an engineer (like my other cousin, note a small pattern), to an accountant and finally to a dietitian, which is what I’m working at now. The first three seemed “too hard” for me and I think, at the time (I was…8-15?) it was just to be like my cousins because they had money and are both very intelligent. I skipped the accounting thing because many people said that crunching numbers can get stressful during tax season and I like to crunch numbers for food more than anything so I can do both with where I’m headed now. I’m glad that I realize that it’s not about the money and it’s more about how happy you are at doing whatever it is you’re going to be doing day in and day out for the rest of your life.
I have the exact same issues when it comes to being an overachieving employee frustrated by her paycheck being more about the hours she’s at work than the quality of work she gets done.
I was the same reader-ahead in school, and at my job I take a lot of pride in being able to do things well and efficiently. I long to tell my boss I can usually get my work done in 4 hours instead of 8–but the fear is that then he’ll say, “Great! So we’ll only pay you for 4?” I want the freedom of being able to do whatever I want with my time, as long as I do my work well, but the philosophy of the working world is still that you should be present from 9-5.
I’m becoming more and more a fan of the Results Only Workplace Environment philosophy (R.O.W.E.). I.e., employees should have the freedom to pursue their own interests just so long as they get their jobs done well and on time. And really, if you’re employing adults, don’t they have a right to be treated like adults? My parents never stood over my shoulder while I did my homework in elementary school–they just trusted that I’d get it done on time, and I was left to figure out the best way how myself. If I had that much freedom as a child, how do you think I feel about being forced to sit at a desk for 8 hours no matter how quickly or efficiently I get my work done?
End rant here. Clearly you touched on a vein for me… 😛
“…at least for a little while.”
What you are supposed to be will always be when you are just…being.
Man I am SOOOOOOO frickin’ deep!
When I was 2, I told my mom I wanted to be a nun.
I think age 2 was the last time I could have qualified to be a nun.
I’m with you, totally. I sort of fell into my career and sometimes the fact that I spend so much of my time in that chair and commuting to and from that chair makes me think…really???
But I’m not one of those people with a specific dream/talent that is unfulfilled (unless you count somehow coming into a lot of money). I wanted to be an astronomer until I learned you needed to take physics to do that. I also wanted to be a singer, and while I’m continually shocked at who can make a living doing that, I don’t think that I could have. It’s not like I want to quit and become an artist, or a chef, or something specific other than what I do, I just would like to be able to dictate how I spend a greater proportion of my time.
You said it much better than I did. I don’t have something unfulfilled that I’m driven to do either. “I would just like how to be able to dictate how I spend a greater proportion of my time.” Thanks for clearing that up–if only for me! 😉
I’d like to ditto this whole post. I wanted to be a lawyer, apparently. That’s what my mom said when I graduated. But what I really want to be is a mom. Stay at home and all – volunteer work included. I apologize to any and all feminists who would otherwise consider me a friend…
I would love to be a SAHM only minus the kids.
You shouldn’t apologize–IMO part of being a feminist is wanting women to have choices–the choice to stay at home, the choice to work…both are choices.
Um. I have wanted to be Evie forever. And I am fully aware that that’s the best image of Evie that comes up on Google images, because I have blogged about my obsession of wanting to have her superpowers before. Damn, such a good show. That and Small Wonder. They don’t do TV like they used to.
I know! I loved “Small Wonder” too, but the brother was super creepy.
I often feel like you’re inside my head, Abby, I feel EXACTLY the same way about being entitled to my time. Works pretty well for me in grad school and a long-distance relationship, but I know I’d have to face some challenges if (when) both of those situations change.
This is the right site to find on a very hard week. I put in my 2 weeks notice and tomorrow is my last day at my job. I am a creative person who always likes to stay busy in a job where I just sit and answer phones all day. The higher ups don’t even realize I have talent and brains because I sit here numb and bored all day from 8-5. I even have to call a girl to come to the desk to cover the phone if I have to use the restroom. I feel trapped. Then I go home to my 2 children who I know suffer b/c Momma is mentally drained and sometimes depressed that this is my life. So, I put in my notice and next week I will be able to take my kids to school and pick them up daily-something I really have never done. I’m happy about this but I also feel like a failure. And now my salary is gone…. I’m torn between needing time to do what I need with my children and husband and clocking the hours at work to have money to have fun. so I guess I am trading money for time and we will probably struggle a bit but I’m just going to clean houses and peruse the internet until something grabs me. I once had a boss tell me, “You want to be in charge, please don’t go and work for anyone else.” At the time it made me mad, but it is true. I want to be in charge-of what I guess I will soon find out 🙂
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I just happened to find your blog, and made my way to this post. I can’t believe it, I wanted to be Evie too. Seriously. You’re awesome.