(Photo Credit – “When I Grow Up”, a children’s story by Al Yankovic)
(Yes… It’s “Weird Al” Yankovic, but the reviews are exceptional!)
What I want to be when I grow up…
It’s a question that nearly every person struggles with at some point in their lives. It’s the stuff that childhood dreams are made of and a reality that makes some adults cringe, when they realize that they didn’t quite land their dream job or career.
When I was young, while most kids dreamed of bring a firefighter, astronaut, or motorcycle daredevil (all crossed my mind, and are quite awesome in their own right), the first big idea that crossed my mind when it came to a lifelong passion, was to be of all things, a meteorologist (you know, one of those weather people on television?). I remember having a book that I would read in the front room of my childhood home, teaching about cloud formations and what they mean to the weather. Sure, it was interesting, (wow, I guess I have been a geek all my life), but pretty quickly that interest began to fall away.
As I made my way through school, I found that I was always interested in Math and Science. This spawned my interest in computers and I began to seek out the coolest job I could that would let me spend my days tinkering with, coding on, or becoming rich in the computer industry.
When I got to college, I found myself choosing between two main interests: Engineering and Medicine. More specifically, computer engineering or becoming a doctor of Pediatrics. At this point in life, I was fully committed to the idea that I could do anything I wanted to do as long as I studied hard, and let nothing stand in my way.
As my first year of college closed out, it was time to make a decision and declare a major. For a lot of different reasons, (and I ran my brain ragged on this one), I decided to pursue Computer Engineering, and the path brought me to where I am today. I am proud of everything I have accomplished thus far, and have no regrets — I wouldn’t have changed anything.
In thinking about the question though, a different thought process crossed my mind. One that had never really taken hold, but had always been there. In every imaginative thought bubble that came into my mind building this post, the scene was nearly the same:
>> We’re out at the park, looking up at the sky, and I am pointing to the clouds, and not only describing what cumulus clouds are, but if anyone can see the elephant, the car, and the boat shapes that the clouds make.
>> I’m at home helping out on math homework, working through multiplication tables and building a scale model of the solar system with foam balls and coat hangers.
>> We’re sitting together at the computer as we set up the skype camera to make a video call to friends and family
>> I’m putting a bandage on a scraped knee, trying in vain to keep the pain threshold down as that anti-bacterial liquid is supposed to make “everything feel better”, but really just sends a searing pain into the wound (albeit for a very short period of time).
Then it hits me… I am a meteorologist, a math teacher, a science mentor, a computer engineer, and a pediatrician. Those are just some of the dream jobs and careers that I get to have and experience — they are just all rolled up into one single job description.
When I grow up, more than anything in life, I want to be a dad.
And I can’t wait to be one again.