I definitely classify myself as a dreamer. I live most of my days lost in thought and wonderment. I wouldn’t say that my head is always up in the clouds, because it’s not exactly like that. I just think…probably too much.
I think of my own life and where it’s going. I think of all the possible forks in the road that are impossible to actually foresee. I think of a hypothetical life in two years, five years, ten years. I think a lot about where I’m going and where I want to be and what I really want to be doing. And I change my mind a lot.
I’ve gone through a lot of phases when it comes to thinking about “what I want to be when I grow up.” When I was really little, I wanted to become a veterinarian, probably like many young children who, like me, found an obsession with animals, particularly their own pets. But then, when I realized that having to put an animal down came with the territory of becoming a vet, I decided I couldn’t do that. I moved on to thinking I could become a researcher who would find the cure for cancer. It was the subject of an essay for a standardized test I took in elementary school. I thought I had a pretty good idea of how I could cure cancer. But, as it turns out, research is a rather tedious and difficult practice, and with more science courses, I realized that it wasn’t for me.
It wasn’t long before I discovered the biggest passion of mine that was underlying all of the others: writing. But while I have known for most of my life that writing is the one thing I would love most to do for the rest of my life, I have always been fascinated by the concept of what other people do in their jobs every day.
As I encounter one stranger to the next in my day-to-day life, I ponder what their day-to-day is like. I take my coffee from the barista at the Starbucks down the street from my office, and I wonder how many hours he has to work today, and whether he has dreams beyond mixing shots of espresso with steamed milk for hundreds of customers looking for their caffeine fix. I sign for the morning package delivery and wonder how many stops our UPS guy has to make in a day. I see the woman running along a bike path and wonder what else composites her day. I deposit some cash at the bank and wonder what it’s like to stand on the other side of that counter. I sit at a table at my favorite restaurant and thank my waiter for my meal, as I wonder who it was who made the beautiful plate, and how it was they got to work here.
I told you. I probably think too much. Maybe it’s the dreamer in me–always wondering what my life would be like if I did X, or Y, or maybe even Z. Maybe that curiosity is why writing fuels me in the way that it does. When I can create a character who has a profession that interests me, I can live vicariously through that character, without having to really change much about the trajectory of my own life.
I often ask people about what they do at their jobs. It’s not just small talk for me. I’m truly interested. Most people just share the basics. When someone asks me about my job, I tell them, “Oh, I work in publishing. I have an administrative position so I process a lot of payments, but I help out with the editorial side a bit, too.” Everyone has their good, two sentence summary, right? But what if the person asking the question really wants to know?
Really, when I started writing this post, the point was to go down the list of the jobs and professions that seem to fascinate me the most. But I should have known ahead of time to plan ahead for my tendency to ramble. So I’ll carry on with that thought next time. For now, I really do want to know, what do you do at work?
And am I the only one who thinks about this too much? There has to be another one of us out there.