When I was in third grade I wanted to be a jockey. Like a lot of little girls, I loved horses with the passion of a thousand Celine Dion songs. I could think of no better life than to get to ride them -- in races! -- every day. I wrote horse stories by the score, pages and pages of equine prose, all of them starring me-Me-ME. And I was happy.
Then my teacher told me I would probably never be a jockey because I was a girl. Crushed my 8-year-old dreams in one off-handed comment.
So, I moved on. I decided I'd be a ballerina. Took dancing lessons, performed in a few recitals. Let's just say "grace" was not my middle name. Except on paper, where, in my feverish imaginings, I gave Pavlova a run for her money.
Next, acting entered my life, and I gave that one a better run. All through high school and college, and even professionally (um, in the sense that I got paid to do it) for a while afterward. Fun, and I loved the getting-into-the-characters-heads aspect of it, but I always craved a bit more control. I wanted to be ALL the characters. AND the director.
For a time I taught high school, but I hardly count that because, while rewarding in its own way, it was never something I had that aforementioned passion for. I just needed the money, and the crazy students and staff were fodder for my evening interludes with my pen, so I could tolerate it.
I went to grad school, got married, had kids--wonderful and fulfilling experiences--all while scribbling in my spare moments. And finally it dawned on me what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Funny how it was what I'd been all along.