What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

career

When I was a child, adults would often ask me this question. Now that I am in my 50s I am not asked that question anymore. Now that would be a little creepy wouldn’t it?  When this blog is posted, I will be on my way to the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. This brings back memories of when I would answer that question that I wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up. I never quite made it there. Honestly I STILL don’t know what I want to be and now  that I’m all grown up – or am I?

I grew up during the Apollo Moon missions in the late 1960s and 1970s. I was glued to the television for the launch, moon landings and splashdowns of every Apollo mission. I was fascinated by the space stuff. I remember that I had to have Tang instant drink because that’s what the astronauts drank. I went crazy when Tang included a toy model of the lunar rover on the package. My mother used to tell me that if I wanted to become an astronaut that I would have to ride the Scream Machine rollercoaster at Six Flags over Georgia. At the time, it was the highest rollercoaster there. I did eventually ride the Scream Machine but it never furthered my career path to becoming an astronaut.

When I look back, I can see that I have taken many twists and turns along life’s journey. So the answer of what I wanted to be when I grew up has changed many, many times over the years.

As my excitement over being an astronaut faded, I later wanted to be a professional football player. That lasted until I tried to play and came to the painful reality that my body would never match my desire to do it. I later thought I would make a career of the military when I joined the Air Force. The job I signed up for was to be a bomb loader which I thought sounded cool and exciting but when I entered active duty I was told that job was no longer reserved for me and I had to pick another career field. I had maybe five minutes to choose another career field or get out of the Air Force. I didn’t have much to choose from in the list. The choices were security police, fireman, cook or administrative specialist. I would like to say I had a profound reason for choosing admin specialist but honestly it was because they had the shortest technical school.

Let me be honest, being an admin specialist was BORING. I hated it. It was nothing more than being a secretary at times. Fortunately, the admin career field had many other options. One was working in the post office. I volunteered for a remote assignment in Thule, Greenland to get into postal work with the idea that I might transition that to working for the postal service when I got out of the military.  After working in the post office, I know now why people “go postal”. Working in a post office for one year settled it for me. I didn’t want to be a postal worker when I grew up either.

When I came back to the states I was assigned to a mobility unit in Georgia as an admin specialist again. I had no idea what a mobility unit was until I went to training and spent a week digging fix holes and running through the woods. I was in the Air Force version of the Army. Although I liked the people I worked with, I hated being an admin specialist. One day I saw and ad in the base bulletin for a special duty assignment with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI). They were the FBI of the Air Force. I volunteered and spent the final years of my Air Force time with that agency. I got to do a lot of cool things and worked with a bunch of good people. Some asked if I was going to become an agent but honestly I never considered it. It wasn’t something I thought I wanted to do. During the time with the AFOSI, our office worked with one of the Assistant United States Attorneys from the local office. She was pretty awesome and I had a lot of respect for her and the work that she did. I was impressed. So much so that I wanted to work in her office.

it took a while before I made it there. When I left active duty, there were no openings in that office. I ended up working with a private investigative agency in Atlanta. I was given a private investigators license and given assignments. Let me assure you it was NOTHING like it was on TV. I was terrible in following people. Surveillance was boring and being a process server was not a fun experience. Did you know that no one is happy to be served with a subpoena? I once drove to Zebulon, Georgia to serve a subpoena. I knocked on the door and when I had confirmed I had the right person, I handed the subpoena and then heard the recipient ask his daughter to go get his gun. That was probably the point when I was ready to move onto something else.

Fortunately, I got the chance to work with them U.S. Attorney’s Office even if I was back in an administrative job again as a legal assistant. Yeah, I still hated it and was constantly looking for a move to something else. I thought maybe a move to a paralegal position would be it. I studied and took some paralegal assignments but when I attended my first paralegal training, that fizzled rather quickly along with the blue book and sherpardizing or whatever they called it. I called it snoozeville. Not for me. So I continued as a legal assistant.

Something unexpected happened while I was working as a legal assistant, I found a job with the local newspaper and started working part-time in the sports department.  I would eventually become a part-time sports writer which I truly enjoyed doing.  I would have to say that of all my jobs, the sport writing was the job I enjoyed the most.  I attempted to go full-time but those doing the hiring didn’t think I was ready.  That hurt me but I pressed on.  This is probably why most of my blog entries are about sports-related topics.

I was still stuck in the legal assistant job during the day.  I eventually found my opening when I would help our IT person with various projects.  I also assisted the attorney’s with graphics they could use in trial.  This eventually led me to become a computer specialist.  This was better suited for me that being a legal assistant.  As technology progressed, there came a need for a litigation technology specialist who could help the attorney’s with graphics, document management and trial presentations.  That’s where I am today.  It has been a career field that fit me.  It has been challenging and exciting.  I have been involved in many high-profile trials in the offices where I have worked.

I have also stayed involved with writing.  The part-time job as a sports writer lit some sort of fuse inside of me.  I have had the opportunity to have articles published in magazines as well as self-publishing some novels.  Sure, I would love to be a full-time PAID writer but so do millions of other writers.

So when you ask me what I want to be when I grow up?  What do I say?  So far it has been:

  • Astronaut
  • Professional Football Player
  • Bomb Loader
  • Administrative Specialist
  • Private Investigator
  • Legal Assistant
  • Paralegal
  • Computer Specialist
  • Sportswriter
  • Litigation Technology Specialist
  • Writer
  • ?

My life has taken some interesting twists and turns along the way.  As I was growing up many people assumed that I would become a preacher since my father and grandfather were also preachers.  I can assure you that I never desired that path.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that calling, it was just never my calling.

So what do I want to be when I grow up?  Today I am exactly two years from being eligible to retire from my current job.  Check back with me then and we will see what’s next on the list.

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First Day of a New Life

Yesterday another life was created. Our second grandchild was born and we welcomed her on her first day on Earth. When I have a chance to think about it, it really is quite amazing that yesterday was the first day of her life.

Life will change for her parents and even more for her two-year-old brother who will soon learn the lessons of sharing and what it means to be a big brother.

Life is a precious thing. We enter it so delicately but it changes as we grow older. We learn bad habits and unhealthy diets which become a part of our lives. I think we would all like a do-over. Unfortunately, we don’t get a chance to start over. We have to live with our mistakes. Those mistakes form us and we learn to adjust to the changes of life.

I often watch movies or read fiction that deal with alternative reality. A lot of wondering about what would have happened if? What if we had made a different decision at a crucial point in our lives? What if we had not missed the bus? So many things forge the course of our journey.

The first day of life is an amazing thought. Looking down at the innocent face of a newborn and seeing the first step in her life’s journey. Her only thought today is to stay warm. That is her priority. Her priorities will change in the years ahead.

So many things form us from our parents, our family, our education and the many people that come into our lives. I think about how some people come into our lives for a brief time while others are in our lives throughout our life. I have been influenced by both. You learn lessons from people and your the choices you make.

Are there things we wished we had done differently? Absolutely. We all have those times that we look back upon but we can’t dwell on them because none of us can go back in time and change it. We keep moving forward. We are all given time and chance each day.

As I looked at her face and hear the first sounds she makes, I am honored to be one of the many people who will be a part of her life. She is lucky to have the folks that welcomed her into the world. They are all good people and I am glad to be a part of that. Each one of us will add a little something to her life and she will learn life through us all. While it is an honor, it is also a huge responsibility.

Life is a miracle but it isn’t an accident and while there is time and chance along the way, there will be wise people to guide us.

Yesterday was first day of another’s journey.

A 50-Year Perspective 

This past weekend we celebrated our grandchild’s first birthday.  The little guy was happy and full of smiles all day.  You couldn’t help but to smile if you were around him.  

One year old.  One year of being on this earth.

I think about the 50+ year age difference between us.  He is yet to make the choices in life which will shape his future.  I have no doubt he will be successful.  His parents are smart and he has a wonderful support system around him.  His future is full of possibilities.

I look at my own life and amazed at how it has turned out but not in disappointment but in how the choices in life guided me to where I am today.  

The earliest age I can remember I wanted to be an astronaut.  I grew up during the NASA Apollo Moon missions and was fascinated by it all.  That stuff was high tech then.  A few years ago I read that the technology in a Nintendo game system was more advanced than the Saturn V rockets.  

Nope, I never became an astronaut.  

Some folks thought I would become a preacher like my father and grandfather.   I did test the waters at some point but quickly learned it wasn’t for me.  Being a preacher is a whole lot more than preaching a sermon on Sunday mornings.

I can’t really point to any one decision that totally set the course of my life.  It was a series of decisions and following the way that laid out before me.  The Bible says:  “Time and chance happens to us all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11).   We all follow the destiny of our time and chances and the decisions we make.  It is scary to be an adult and have to make your own decisions. When you lived at home you could easily blame your parents but now the decision is on you and we are all worried about making the wrong decisions.    I learned a long time ago that you make the best decision you can based on what you know and then adapt if you to.   One of the best abilities to have is the ability to adjust to the changes in life.  

One phrase I have heard repeatedly recently is “Trust God and leave the consequences to Him”.

Sometimes that’s hard to do.  But, when you have come through the other side and look back at the days, months or years you can see the path you’ve taken and understand it a little better.  

No, I didn’t become an astronaut or preacher but I am content on the way my path has led me here.