So, what did I want to be when I was little?
What did I want to be?
I can’t distinctly remember every ambition, but I know there was a marine biologist, an actress, a baseball player, Mariah Carey, a teacher (for the summers off, not the humanitarian efforts,) a vet, a lawyer (to get paid to argue, most certainly not for the humanitarian efforts,) Evie from “Out of this World,” an artist, and Sylvester Stallone’s love child during the “Rocky” years thrown into the mix at some point.
Because who wouldn’t want to pause and un-pause time, "gleep" objects into existence and transport herself from one place to another?
My mom’s answer as to what I wanted to be?
That I wanted to be the boss of me, and quite possibly, the boss of a few other people (my minions, I was told. Muah-ha-ha.) It’s not that I was bossy, but rather that I liked to be in charge of getting things done and having say over how I spent my time.
That time was usually spent doing more than one thing at once. If the TV was on, I was also coloring. If I was in the car, I was also reading or drawing. Yes, I was the nerd that would read ahead in class because I already had my work done.
My point being, I think I’ve always felt entitled to my time and how it’s spent.
Now I’m technically an adult and it’s assumed that my maturity level is slightly higher than that of the little girl who dreamed of being either a half-alien with supernatural powers or the bastard child of an aging movie star. But some things haven’t changed.
I still feel a sense of entitlement over my time and still kind of wish I was Mariah Carey.
(If only because she’s married to Nick Cannon, who is very easy on the eyes. Plus, she has boobs.)
I still just somehow want to be the boss of me.
*Here is where I add the disclaimer that I work in a good environment, they are flexible with my neurosis and I’m grateful for my job. This is more about the general system and has nothing to do with the place at all.
It has to do with the fact that the little girl with plans to be her own boss—after saving the whales and starring in a major motion picture—has turned into a hippie-dippie adult with a “real” job who still wants something more.
While I realize the impracticality of my desires, I would like more control of my time.
See, even though I have no desire to climb any corporate ladder, I’m a darn good employee. My work gets done thoroughly, usually early and I tend to have higher expectations than others do for the work that I do. But here’s the thing. Regardless of how I get my work done, my butt is still expected to be stuck in that chair for the duration of the day and I’m still expected to be at my best during those hours.
In essence, I’m paid for time and not for effort.
Six-year-old Abby would find this absurd, and 29-year-old Abby is not far behind (however, 29-year-old Abby has a house payment and 6-year-old Abby had a blanket fort—rent free.)
It seems there are countless hours and days when my time is not my own, when it really belongs to those that sign my paycheck (again, see disclaimer above. It’s nothing personal.*) It feels a bit selfish, a bit immature, but I sometimes resent that what I do is measured in minutes and not merit.
I feel cheated.
Cheated out of what, I’m not quite sure. Maybe out of a little bit of control, of a little bit of creativity, of a little bit of individuality. Maybe out of a little bit of energy towards things I want to do, things that rarely conveniently fall at a time after “traditional” business hours. (And in a cruel plot twist, things I don’t get paid to do, such as rambling on a blog.)
My brain does not differentiate between business hours and the few left over at the end of the day, just as it doesn’t differentiate between weekends and professional production. I get some of my best ideas for both at the most random times.
This leads me to believe that I would be just as—if not more—productive if not confined to restrictions of other’s conventional schedules.
I know it’s unrealistic, but so is thought that it’s one-size-fits-all when it comes to these things…and that a 60-year-old would still be boxing.
But instead of holding my breath in protest (while coloring and watching TV) like 6-year-old marine biologist/child actor Abby would have done, I suppose I should exhale and just keep keepin’ on for now—considering they pay me to write words, even if they’re not the words I really want to write (again, see disclaimer.* It’s not personal.)
Being an adult means reconciling the fact that what you want to be is sometimes shaped by what you have to be, at least for a little while. That doesn’t mean I’m giving up, as much like my fictional philandering father Rocky Balboa, I’m a fighter.
No, one day I’ll be asked, “What did you want to be?”
I’ll say with a smile, “What did I want to be? Just what I am—a woman who’s paid to write from the heart, in control of her time and her efforts…and possibly named by Billboard magazine in their "Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years."
And as the boss of me, I’ll accept that two out of three ain’t bad.
I think it’s kind of obvious what I wish I could be (a half-alien with supernatural powers from an early ‘90s TV show that gets paid to write witty tidbits from home—duh.)
What did you want to be? If that’s not what you are, why aren’t you?