Jason tells me I need to find a way to have less stress in my life.
He thinks he's funny.
Not too long ago I asked if any of you had any burning questions you wanted to ask me. Two of you humored me and asked me a question. One of the questions was what I wanted to be when I grew up. Of course those aren't the exact words...and in fact, I may have completely forgotten what was really asked, but I'm going to answer the question I think I remember.
I grew up with six siblings: two brothers and four sisters. My favorite thing to do with them was play school. I was always the teacher, and depending on who my teacher was at the time, I was either nice or mean, mirroring what I saw every day at school. I was in high school before I said I wanted to be something other than a teacher.
What kid doesn't go to Sea World and come away wanting to work with the dolphins? Through my high school years I wanted to be a marine biologist...never mind that I had a huge fear of open bodies of water...and never mind that I didn't live anywhere near the ocean.
One of my first classes I took in college was a gerontology class. By that point in my life I had spent a lot of time helping my mom care for my grandma, and I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my days helping the elderly generation during their final days. I did a lot of volunteer work and spent a lot of time visiting people, who became friends, in a care center. The pain of losing my grandma to Alzheimer's was too fresh though, and I couldn't handle a life filled with similar emotions. My sister confirmed my decision when she looked me in the eyes one night and said, "You are never allowed to work with old people. Your mental state simply can't handle it."
Let's see...from there I took a break from college and spent 18 months in NYC as a missionary for my church. I came home feeling a little bit lost. I enrolled in college and spent a week looking through the classes, trying to decide on a major. I finally settled for English and when someone told me I had to declare a minor I picked Sociology. A day later I went back into the enrollment office and switched my major to Sociology.
Once I graduated I spent a lot of time volunteering. I tried again at a care center. I spent time volunteering with Hospice. I worked with a group as a court appointed advocate for little kids. And I spent a lot of time doing humanitarian work in Central America.
I decided to get a masters degree in social work, and then changed directions and moved to Mexico for a few months. I thought about law school with the determination to eventually become a judge. Life threw some curve balls and law school was put on the back burner. Later, I thought long and hard about becoming a family therapist.
Just recently my sister told me I missed my calling in life...she told me I should have been a journalist. There's a funny story behind that but I'll save it for another time.
If I had an endless supply of money I would jump with both feet into the world of humanitarian work, and start my own non-profit organization.
And after all of that...what I actually do has nothing to do with any of it.
I've had dreams my whole life of changing the world...of doing things that would make a difference in a big way....and perhaps those dreams won't ever fade completely.
But a tiny little miracle named Emily has taught me that if the only life I ever touch is hers...it's enough.