By seven, I could do the Ariel move in the bathtub with flare. You know the one, where she pushes herself up on the rock and the waves burst up behind her. I could do that.
By ten, I could use a magnifying glass to solve any mystery, like where is my missing sock, better than Nancy Drew.
By twelve, I was sure I was going to marry Prince William.
But what I really knew was that I was going to be Indiana Jones.
I wasn’t going to be like him. I was going to actually be him. I would wear the brown fedora, save artifacts, and yell “This belongs in a museum!”
But what I didn’t count on was the CIA.
The fact is when I was a kid I told everyone I was going to be a writer when I grew up. To which I got the reply, “Yeah, but what are you going to do to pay the bills?”
So my senior of high school came and went, and during nearly the last week of classes, I still didn’t know what I was going to do to pay the bills. So my English teacher said to me, “Be a librarian.”
Of course, why hadn’t I thought of that?
So I went off into the real world to be a librarian.
You see, I didn’t know how to become a librarian. I was valedictorian of my high school class, and I’m not sure if that meant people thought I was smart enough to just figure it out, but I didn’t know what to do.
I asked my high school guidance counselor, and he told me to join the Navy. It would open up opportunities for me. I get sea sick, I told him. But it’s the Navy!
I went to the first college that I would attend and told my academic advisor. I want to be a librarian, I said. You can’t do that here, he told me, and told me to take choir.
Then one day my roommate came back from her night job on the telethon fundraiser and told me to go to the University at Albany. Someone she had talked to said that was a great school to go to to become a librarian.
So I went, and when I got to campus during orientation, I went to my academic advisor and said, I’m ready to become a librarian, and she said, we don’t offer that anymore. You need to take these core classes.
By the fall of my junior year, I was frustrated. I didn’t know it was this hard to become a librarian. I figured it would be simpler than this.
Then I got a flyer in my mailbox. It told me to come to a recruiting session with the CIA. Wow, I thought. CIA. Cool. Sure, why not? So I went.
It was at the top of the community building in our quad, and the entrances were flanked by state troopers with shotguns. I remember that distinctly, because I had thought at the time that CIA agents were not so important as to demand tax payer dollars. But I went into the session, listened and watched.
And left knowing I was going to join the CIA.
If I had been older, I would have noticed the brainwashing capabilities of the CIA, but I did not. I went out of that room, studied abroad, came back, and went to law school. I was going to become a lawyer and work for the CIA.
And then I dropped out of law school. In fact, I spent more time writing my first trashy romance novel in law school then I spent time doing anything else. That should have been a sign.
So as a law school drop out with a degree in history and English, I did the only thing I could do. I went back to school for a business degree to get a job and pay the bills.
Now I can write my name with the fancy letters “MBA” after it, and I have a job and I pay my bills.
But I still remember what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a librarian.
And I wonder at what point do we no longer get to dream our childhood dreams? At what point do we no longer get to go for it? At what point can we no longer believe that it can happen?
And what has made me think that it is even necessary to stop dreaming our childhood dreams?
I blame the CIA.