Ever since I can remember I've wanted to be a writer. I can date this desire back to at least the age of ten because on March 2, 1993, I inscribed the inside cover of my journal with this statement: "If I ever grow up to become a famous author, please have an author look at this, and write a true story about my life. (If they still write books in the future.)"
Don't worry, ten-year-old Marisa. They still write books 25 years into the future. But you did not grow up to become a famous author. Not just yet anyway. Instead, you became an operations manager at a bank. Every kid's dream job, right?
Don't get me wrong. I enjoy my work and my organization and (most of) my coworkers. It's just not my calling.
And to say I haven't become a writer would be not giving myself enough credit. I did finally write my first novel. I was a journalist and columnist for my university's daily newspaper and I ran a successful humor (okay, snark) blog. I once even toyed with my memoir. (Because, you know, the world was just dying to hear about my 28 relatively unremarkable years on Earth.)
I'm also the person my coworkers call on to review a report or help draft a tricky email. I'm the one my family calls when they need help with an essay or a resume. Some might say I have a way with words. Some (my mother) might say I'm a bullshitter, just like my dad. I say, art is art. It comes in many forms.
So how did I get from writing as a side hobby to getting serious about doing the damn thing? (The damn thing being writing my first novel.)
I was finally struck with the right dose of inspiration. It came shortly the birth of my son. You'd think motherhood would push all your crazy dreams even further into the background, but that was not my experience.
If there's one thing I wish for my son (after general happiness, health, and safety), it is this: I hope he does what he loves, not what he thinks he should do.
I'm not talking about having a hobby or a one-time experience that he can scratch off his bucket list. I'm talking about waking up every day with a fire in his belly. Feeling energized by the work he's doing. Finding his calling. Going after it, whatever "it" is.
Now, if he ends up being called to a practical career in engineering, teaching, or plumbing? Lovely. But if, instead, he's called to extreme unicycling, oyster farming, or penguinology? Well, that's fine too.