Earlier this week, I was at Media Day at the zoo, as a freelance writer for our local tourism website. I asked the director about the name of the zoo’s male lion that died last year, and as I jotted it down, I thought … wow. I’m kind of like a journalist.
Let me explain. When I went to college, 34 years ago now, I originally intended to major in journalism. I liked to write, after all. I took the first few courses in the major. In one of them, we were assigned to interview someone from a local business and write an article based on that interview. I interviewed Blast Off Balloons, a company I’m sad to see is still around. Sad because, while I felt the interview and article writing went well, the company apparently did not. When the professor sent the article to them for a review, they returned it with really poor feedback. I specifically remember them writing, “Frankly, I would give a third grader a poor grade on this.”
WOW. Do you know what a comment like that did to a sensitive, aspiring journalist? If you said it would cause her to change her major, you’d be right. I never did learn what problem the company had with my article. The professor said I should contact them to find out their issues, but I never did. Honestly, if someone dissed you like that, would you be too anxious to talk to them again? I find it hard to believe that an article by an 19-year-old with perfectionist tendencies could be that awful in the eyes of a small place selling balloon bouquets, but enough about that. Do I still sound bitter?
So anyway, it was interesting to me that, decades later, things have arranged themselves so that I kind of am a journalist these days.
Paths not taken
That’s not the only field that this situation has happened in. After journalism, I had a brief time of majoring in history. And, guess what? My best-selling book is about a historical German king.
I never spent time as a music major, but while I was a teen, my piano teacher recommended that I do that. Guess what I spend a lot of time doing now? Teaching piano lessons.
Ironically, the field I did end up majoring in — retail merchandising — is one that I worked in only briefly. Other than part-time jobs, I worked retail full-time for just nine months after college graduation.
My point in all this is that it’s interesting to see the paths our lives take. Often, the things that interest us in our childhood and adolescence end up playing a big role in our lives later on, whether they end up being our means of livelihood or not.
So how about you — did you ever want to do something, only to take a detour and end up doing something similar years later?