7.14.2015

Turning to the Blue Examination Book For Inspiration

As my 40s march on at an alarming pace, I still debate the big question, "What am I going to
do with my life?!"

I think of the things I have done (Gone to school, worked for 15 years in the non-profit sector, worked for 15 months at the university) and the things I would like to do (A big ???) and compare them to my career goals as a child. Could the answer be there? Perhaps.

Early career goals included being a school bus driver and working at Dairy Queen. There is a school bus parked outside of a local elementary school adorned with a banner announcing they are hiring drivers for the 2015-2016 academic year. As for Dairy Queen, I understand fast-food joints are always hiring. If I stuck with the bus driver/Dairy Queen goal, I'd be ensconced in my intended career and would not be having these thoughts today.

After abandoning the bus driver/Dairy Queen career goal, I moved on to the lofty idea of becoming  a novelist. My Uncle Fort was an English professor and during elementary school he'd bring me blue examination books. These simple books offered me a place for my writing, and I felt sophisticated and intellectual filling them with stories. College students wrote in these same books after all, and there I was, a young student at Fernbrook School doing the exact same thing.

My dream of becoming a novelist never stuck but writing has. I wrote often during my undergraduate years and non-stop writing in graduate school culminated in a master's thesis, my unique contribution to our body of knowledge. After graduation, I went on to freelance for the arts and entertainment section of two newspapers, an endeavor that spanned many years, and from time to time my work has appeared in various publications .

Non-profit work gave me a chance to write further - fundraising appeal letters, content for newsletters and websites, thank you letters and more. As I advanced in my career, the writing was turned over to those in the entry-level positions that supported me until I found that I wasn't doing much of it all.

I now do more writing in my current position at the university, and am glad to be back at it. Perhaps I should revisit the childhood aspiration of becoming a novelist/writer. Like any skill, it takes practice and I find myself a bit "out shape" when it comes to writing. This blog has helped re-sharpen my skills and to further aid in inspiration, I purchased a blue examination book at the university bookstore. They haven't chanced much since college other than the fact that they are now "branded" by the bookstore, which the purchaser is encouraged to "follow" on a number of social media platforms. This will be a convenient place to jot down thoughts and get back into writing shape.

If my career as a novelist/writer takes off, I'll have a $0.20 blue examination book to thank. In the meantime, I continue to ponder the never ending question, "What should I do with life?"

How did you answer the question, "What should I do with my life?" Have you ever changed your career path? What inspired you to do so and how did you make the switch? Share any and all stories in the comment section of the blog.