What do you want to be when you grow up?

We were probably all asked that question about a million times when we were kids. It seemed to be every adult’s favorite question, right after, “How old are you?”

In first grade, I wanted to be a “scientif,” which was how I pronounced “scientist.” I had a lab kit, complete with a microscope, that I loved to play with.

Once when one of my pet goldfish died, rather than flush it down the toilet, my dad and I dissected it. Yes, that is kind of weird, but as a kid I thought it was cool to see the inside of a fish. Clearly I wasn’t the squeamish type.

I also had aspirations of becoming a doctor, thanks to the TV show “Doogie Howser.”

When I was 3, my grandma bribed me to stop sucking my thumb. She told me she’d let me pick out one thing from Toys “R” Us if I stopped. I quit sucking my thumb right away and later selected a Fisher-Price doctor’s medical kit for my prize.

When I got a little older, I wanted to become an actress. I loved the idea of becoming a character in a story and taking on a new identity.

Looking back on my childhood days, I sort of wonder what happened to all my dreams. Why did the things I wanted to do never quite work out?

Eventually I gave up on the things I wanted to be as a kid as they slowly got less and less interesting.

Science fell by the wayside after I hated my seventh grade science class. I knew I probably wouldn’t enjoy being a doctor, and I never had many outlets to pursue acting.

When it came time to decide what I was going to study in college, and what I really wanted to be, I had to weigh my options.

As I considered majors, I thought of where I had the most experience and talent.

The one thing I’d been doing the longest was writing, since I was seven. I never thought much of it as a kid, I just wrote. But after years of writing, it suddenly became the answer to, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

After so many years of practice and high school teachers telling me to pursue a career in writing, I decided that was what I wanted to be, a writer.

I don’t think I’ve completed the process; even after earning a degree in communications, I’m still working on becoming a writer. I am really enjoying the experience, even though I never followed my childhood aspirations.

I often wonder how many people become what they wanted to be as a kid. How many people saw their answer to, “What do you want to be when you grow up,” come true?

How many people went in a completely different direction? And do they love what they’re doing now? And how many people wish they were doing what they dreamed of as a child?

We all have a different story, and if you’ve been reading my columns, you know I like when people share their stories. I especially enjoy childhood stories and hearing what people have learned and how they’ve grown through their experiences.

I’ve felt very privileged to have friends and readers approach me and tell me about their lives. And I always like to hear more.

If you want to share a story, comment or suggestion for a column topic, please send it to my e-mail listed below. I would love to hear from you.

Elise Loyola is a staff writer for the Clinton Herald. She has been here since November 2008 and she can be reached at eliseloyola@clintonherald.com.

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