The Biggest Lie

My parents lied to me regularly when I was kid.

“You can be anything you want to be when you grow up,” they told me. 

Not true! 

In high school, I wanted to be Sylvia Plath.  (Not a good long-term plan, I’ll admit.)

After seeing the movie The Fabulous Baker Boys, I wanted to be a cabaret singer like Michele Pfeifer, belting out tunes from the great American songbook while making love to a grand piano – never mind that I can’t hold a tune.

During college, I wanted to be an investigative journalist, uncovering government corruption and solving crimes like some trench coat-wearing, pencil-in-the-fedora super sleuth.

Everyone told me I had a knack for the written word:  my high school English teacher, my parents, the editor of my hometown newspaper.  But when I got to college and scoped out the competition, for the first time I thought just maybe a Pulitzer Prize wasn’t in my future.

My 10-year old niece informed me recently of her career plans.  She wants to work at the front desk of a fancy hotel, later be a high school teacher.  After doing that for about five years, she’d like to be a marine biologist.  Then she’ll think about getting married.

Is now the time to tell her that there’s only one Jacque Cousteau?  That the hotel job won’t pay the bills – not with the expensive tastes she’s already acquired! 

When’s the right time to tell someone they’re not the next David Beckham?

If someone had warned me about my college competition would I be daydreaming of houses on Cape Cod from which I could work as a freelance writer…would I be on the air waves today?


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