What She Wants To Be When She Grows Up

When you are little, some of the defining questions of your life include:

What is your favorite color? (green)

What is your favorite animal? (giraffe)

What do you want to be when you grow up?

That last one is some kind of foreshadowing for the always daunting (for me anyway) ‘what do you do?’ inquiry that is so popular upon first meeting someone as an adult. When I was a kid, I answered either marine biologist (did anyone else watch Danger Bay!?) or archeologist (possibly the Indiana Jones influence). I was an overly serious child at times, with a love of big words and a wish to wear glasses to appear more intellectual. Obviously, I am an expert of neither the sea nor the ruins, but I’m glad I was so confident in my abilities.

My sister, on the other hand, was never overly serious when we were kids. She can get a bit serious now that she is an adult, but a fart joke usually snaps her out of it. So it should not be surprising that when asked about her future professional pursuits she answered confidently, with certainty,  ‘a babysitter and a roller-skate waitress.’

Now, it’s highly unlikely that any child, whether future firefighter, doctor or roller-skate waitress, considers the prestige or pay-scale of their dream job. I know that I personally was thinking of jobs where I could be outside, use reference books, and wear comfortable sportswear. My sister, on the other hand, probably made her choice based on vocations where she could wear skirts, chew gum, and hold a pad and pen. In the babysitting scenario, I’m pretty sure she envisioned that she would arrive after the kids were already asleep and she could just make phone calls while doodling in Teen Bop and watch late-night television, while wearing a skirt of course.

When you flash forward to the present, you find us at very different moments in the lives of our careers. Mine, while started ambitiously with a hot run of degrees, has stalled out completely and found me realizing I’m not nearly as ambitious as I thought I was in the marine biology days, and that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

My sister’s, however, is just about to really launch in earnest. After she worked and partied and studied (and repeat that cycle) her way to two degrees, she moved to the big city and took part-time jobs in the design field while bolstering her income with her proven ability to make crazy tips by cocktail waitressing. Not on roller-skates, in case you were wondering. She has worked hard, done jobs that are probably beneath her (who hasn’t, really), saved her money, enjoyed the benefits of urban living, and put in her time. And now, hopefully, with any luck, it has started to pay off.

Because she has a real job. A full-time job. With amazing benefits. And vacation time. She’s leaving the city for a smaller place with more opportunity, with fewer friends, less of a nightlife. She is, apparently, making adult decisions and moving up in the world and forging her own path. What the hell is going on!?

Last I remember her ambitions included wearing fringe cowboy boots and then captaining the cheerleaders (both goals were, in case you wondered, accomplished). Now I’m confronted with a grown woman who negotiates contracts and works with buyers and masters drafting programs. And even though none of those are done on roller skates and babysitting is something you would have to pay her generously for, it looks like her dreams, the professional kind specifically, are working their way to fruition. Or, rather, she’s working them into fruition. Work it girl, I couldn’t be more proud.

Behold, two dedicated professionals, the babysitter and the archeologist.

4 thoughts on “What She Wants To Be When She Grows Up

  1. I think the girl on the left should be a cheeky, London singer and the other should rock out on the guitar. Why didn’t you ask me first?!

    Congrats to your sister on the big job!

  2. Congrats to Ally – exciting!

    I think the real question though is not what will you be when you grow up, but when do you really grow up? It’s crazy how when you’re a kid you think that adults know what they’re doing and that you’ll be something different once you “grow up.” I don’t know, six years of teaching high school, a Master’s degree, counseling teenagers through some pretty big problems, a new baby…I still feel like I’m playing house and grown-up half the time, a big poser, pretending to be an adult when inside I still feel like I’m 12 half the time…does everyone feel that way and why did no one tell us it would be that way?

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