Once, years ago, I had a doctor friend of mine tell me that if he hadn’t chosen medicine as his path, he’d have gone the route of architecture or some kind of design. I laughed to myself, hearing his “if”, thinking how I, then a creative project manager, had so many times, wished I could do what he did. I sob, watching television dramas like ER and Grey’s Anatomy thinking, I want to save lives. I want to be a doctor.
At 17, I decided I was going to be an interior designer. That was it. And of course I assumed it would be my job—or my career– forever. I never imagined that at 30, I’d stop and question it and the whole direction my life was going. But I did. And now here I am working on being a writer. This is it. For real. (Or so I’m thinking.)
My mind still wanders though. If I could be anything…
It happened just the other day at work– at the architecture firm where I’m office manager (which ordinarily is just fine by me, as it provides me the freedom to leave with enough brain-power to be creative by night). It was during our office-wide meeting, when a line of architects stood up, one after another to present their projects. I was in the back of the room, craning my neck so to get a peak, and hear at least mumbles of what that had to say. One of them talked about their design for a clothing boutique in Japan, another about a penthouse apartment in the West Village; one was working on a flagship store uptown, and another on a beach house in the Hamptons. I felt a twinge somewhere between envy and longing as I stood there in admiration of their work, saying to myself, I want to do that. Architecture! I quietly slipped into a daydream– a ridiculous one of course– where I saw myself carrying tubes of drawings wherever I went, with a pencil always in hand, or twisted in my hair at all times that I could reach for at a moment’s notice to sketch random ideas as they came to me, on cocktail napkins or pieces of mail; I pictured myself adopting a wardrobe of all black and wearing my glasses every day, with great commissions coming my way from the US and abroad. I snapped back to reality.
But so quickly, I fall again into la-la land. Maybe it’s an athlete that I really want to be. That is my wish whenever the Olympics come around. Or I’d love to be a musician… or better an actor, where I could be so many different things without really being them. My “If” list could go on for days.
Really, though what’s the point? Don’t get me wrong– I’m all for changing your path if the one you’re on is getting stale. But come on…sometimes it’s just gotta be said that reality bites. In a lifetime, there is no way for any one of us to do all that we’d like to do. It would be easy if we were all born with one-track minds. Unfortunately, I was not; and there is never a shortage of things I want to try and do and be great at. But since eventually we all must choose, I suppose we should just trust ourselves, that the choices we make, are the right ones for us.