What do I wanna be when I grow up?

When I was really little I wanted to learn ballet, but I never got lessons.

When I was eight, I wanted to learn all about horses, but it was way too expensive.

When I was nine, I wanted to become an astronomer or a mathematician, and when I was eleven, I wanted to be an electrical engineer, but I guess somewhere along the way I was swayed by society's subtle implications that girls don't do that stuff.

When I was twelve, all my classmates thought I would become a brain surgeon or find the cure for AIDS, but they didn't know I was way too squeamish for medical school. I wanted to be a writer, but my stories were terrible.

When I was thirteen, I wanted to be an actress, but, mercifully, I figured out I wasn't that good fairly early on.

When I was fifteen, I wanted to become fluent in French and be a translator, but our school's French program was not so great and I didn't practice speaking. To this day I can't understand a word of French that I hear.

When I was sixteen, I decided I wanted to be a musician. I played the flute and the piano, but I never practiced enough.

When I was in college I majored in music anyway and decided to be a piano teacher. I even went to grad school for it, but after teaching too many rich kids who really didn't care, it lost its appeal.

When I was in grad school for my first masters (in pedagogy and performance), I decided I wanted to be a collaborative pianist, so I stayed in grad school to study that instead.

Today I'm still a grad student trying to pass as a professional musician. I'm 27 and I've never had a "real" (i.e. full time) job (my 3-day stint at Shoney's doesn't count, and no, I don't want to talk about it), and I still wonder if I made the right decision. Perhaps I decided too early to pursue music; perhaps I was naive and should have considered other areas more carefully before ruling them out. How would I have fared in science or engineering? What if I had majored in math? Or languages?

I'm good at piano because I've been doing it for a long time and I'm diligent. I'm not gifted, but I at least have talent. I've noticed, though, that when people compliment my skills, they say that I am reliable, organized, articulate, competent and thoughtful. These are all good qualities, to be sure. Think of your favorite musician, though. What's the first word that comes to mind. Is it "organized"? I didn't think so.

I think I'm too old to start over, even if I wanted to. I have a kid, so when I feel discouraged, I figure I can just hide behind motherhood for a little while.

At the very least, I suppose I would make a kick-ass secretary.


pamigelsrud said…
Wow -- I so identify with this!! I wanted to leave a comment so much I finally had to sign up for this service. You make me feel like I am not so weird and I want you to know that that is a compliment even though it may scare you. I have started thinking about becoming an environmental scientist or ecologist and have started reading books about trees. Does that mean I'm done with music? : )
Suze said…
NOOOOOO! You can't be done with music! At least, we can't stop performing together :)

I'm so glad you signed up!

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