A few months ago, my friend Jehara wrote a fascinating Thursday 13 about her “imaginary lives” a la Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. It’s been awhile since I did my morning pages or exercises, but I thought I’d give my imaginary lives a try for this week.
1. News Anchor. I played at anchoring on a very small scale in college. On public access TV run by the college, I co-anchored Blue Mountain News, most favoritely with my friend, Charlie. Although I struggled with my turning-red* problem, it was fun to tell the news to the five or six people that watched the show. The hardest part? Improvising the banter at the end of the show and trying not to laugh. I remember Charlie read a story about how after so many years, animal owners would start to resemble their pets. I recall saying “I’ve always wanted a bulldog” and it delighted me to see Charlie lose it on live TV!
2. FBI Agent. This one I actually looked into during college. Although I know I’d be rubbish at it, the likes of “Criminal Minds” and other TV dramas keep my interest peeked in agent work.
3. Chef. When I was little, I thought I’d grow up and be a chef because my grandma, mom and dad were all such good cooks. That and I’d watched Audrey Hepburn in “Sabrina” about a hundred times. It wasn’t until my mom outlined the working hours for successful chefs–nights, weekends and holidays–that I decided cheffing wasn’t right for me. I still love to cook though, custard mishaps not withstanding!
4. Ballerina. Until my hip surgery the summer before senior year, this one was a go for me. I remember eating, sleeping and breathing dance, all kinds, but in particular, ballet. I revered the ballet greats before me–Pavlova, Fonteyn, Nureyev, Baryshnikov–aching to have those high arches and slender lines. I wore my pointe shoes until my toes bled, performing in our little company and appreciating the singular exhilaration that comes with a standing ovation. Nothing like it in the world. I’m still wistful when I watch the incredible talent on “So You Think You Can Dance,” wondering what could have been. But then I sigh, have some more ice cream and think maybe my life is just peachy.
5. Elementary School Teacher. Junior high killed this dream but I’ve always wondered what it would be like to tend elementary students. I remember what a remarkable impression certain teachers made on me–Mr. Sprecklemeyer’s third grade kindled my love of reading, Mrs. Drake’s fifth grade taught me patience and collaboration, Mr. McGrew’s sixth grade inspired a love of social science and history. I wish that I could similarly inspire young people in the same regard. Of course, I have no patience for munchkins in mass quantities, so I will settle for a different beast: The College Student. 😉
6. Cosmetologist. From the time I cleaned the baseboards in my mom’s shop at age 12 to working the front desk from 13 to the middle of college, I always thought about being a cosmetologist. How cool would it be to have clients that requested you? To make people feel beautiful? To indulge in creativity all day long? Alas, I also knew the crap side of salon work–long hours, small wages initially, crazy clients!, even crazier fellow hair dressers!!, and I knew it wasn’t for me.
7. Graphic Designer. Now, I kind of did this in my work for Adventist Health albeit on a small scale. And I dabble personally, having designed all of our wedding stationery. But I have actual graphic designer friends and I know I haven’t scratched the surface of the design world. How rad would it be to develop national ad campaigns that used your ideas and designs??
8. Photographer. I dabble. I shoot zillions of vacation photos. I play around in photoshop. But an imaginary life I can actually imagine is that of photographer. The art of my dear friends Shannon Ledford and Beth Baugher make the temptation great, but I will continue amateur status. Just so long as T keeps me in cool camera gear! 😉
9. Psychologist. Oh to spend my days inside the human brain! As a communication researcher, I’m interested in the making of meaning, and the sending and receiving of messages. But I focus between people and not inside the heads of individuals. If I had another life, I would probably go back and study psychology.
10. Social worker. After working in a hospital setting for a few years, one of the positions I most admired was the case worker or patient advocates. Some of my dear friends are now social workers, helping people find to access resources and assisting those who need help. Underpaid and overworked, I have so much respect for this profession and could see myself working in the field.
11. Actress. After my playback classes, I remembered the high school drama nerd I used to be and the one-act play I scored the lead in in college. MAN those were fun times. If not for the lack of stability, crazy competition and one-in-a-million shot at success, I would totally find stage acting interesting.
12. Blogger. Although I blog pretty regularly, I understand the limited application of my general drivel. To think of those voices out there–Pioneer Woman, for instance–who get paid to write every day, I think: HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE?!?! Maybe some day, although I’m skeptical that I could sustain that level of audience interest day in and day out.
13. Stay at home mom. Now, I’m writing this and laughing because I’m not sure about the kid thing quite yet being so focused on school at the present time. And previous to now, I so could not imagine this life except that my dear friend Heather is home with her little ones right now. Heather is without a doubt, one of the most driven and talented people I know, and to see her raising up such beautiful and healthy munchkins is very cool. I wonder, could** I do the same? (For the record, it will be MANY years before this even becomes a question, so don’t you worry (Yes, I’m talking to myself here.).)
* I still turn red during public speech, but on TV, my producer said he could see the line of red travel up my chest to my neck to my cheeks and hairline. Can you say EMBARRASSING?
** I worry about my patience levels and my selfishness levels.