More than ever, I find myself asking myself what I really want to do. One of my professors said that it’s a middle-aged dream come true to finally do what you wanted to do as a child. This made me wonder what I actually wanted to do as a kid. Do I have a calling that will unfold itself once I’m older?
There is a documented coloring book page of my 5 year-old self wanting to be a “ballerina princess” when I grow up. If I find a way to be this at any point in my life, consider me to be the luckiest girl on earth that hit the jackpot. Alas, I know I aspired to be many other things than that as a child.
I’ve always been a writer. I remember entering short stories and poems in all of the Young Authors contest, and typically winning. I remember writing my first blogs on Xanga as an 11 year-old before realizing I was even writing a blog. Once I was in high school, I decided I wanted to be a journalist. I was the newspaper girl for a solid 3 years. In college, I realized I needed money, which traditional journalism would not provide. Still, once I studied abroad and began a travel blog, I began writing constantly. It wasn’t like I had ever truly stopped either. I’ve always been so active on social media and finding ways to write. Now, I’m editor for a nationwide organization as well as writing press releases and copy at my marketing internship, and I’m realizing how central writing is to who I am. I am Mary, and I am a writer.
Growing up, being an author meant writing novels and fictional stories to be read in books (because who wanted to read nonfiction books as a whimsical kid?), and that was it. So, I never aspired to be a writer in that sense. I just was a writer by my own definition.
Don’t get me wrong — I have a vivid imagination and a few ideas I would love to turn into novels when I have time (LOL what a trite thing to hope for). Still, I am a writer in a sense that I take words, facts, statistics, ideas, and thoughts, and turn them into a story. I am a storyteller, even if that story is how to introduce a protein bar into a foreign market (senior year capstone project holla), how I’ve overcome an eating disorder, or simply my daily musings and reflections. Word arrangement is crucial. I arrange words to make others feel, to make them question, and to make them think.
I’m grateful to know that my calling as a writer can wear many different hats throughout my lifetime. Like all other Millennials, I am certain I will have at least 5 careers in my lifetime. I will likely have more, possibly 10, simply because, knowing me, I can’t just have one career at once. Still, I am certain that these will all involve writing in some capacity.
This may not answer what career I want to pursue soon as an entry-level MBA graduate, but it reminds me to stay true to myself. So often, I find myself trying to fit others’ molds or ideals so that I can “get in,” and maybe then I’ll be myself. I catch myself and remember that my writing style — direct, sometimes sarcastic, always genuine — is mine and only mine. I need to embrace that. I will always have critics, but at least I’ll be the one writing original content instead of commenting on others’.