Yesterday afternoon while I was running errands I saw a local Plumbing truck drive past me and my mind started to race. My first thoughts went to Dad, then...to my brothers... I remembered a conversation around our lively "Smith Family Kitchen Table" about Dad and how he was "Born to be a Plumber". I'm not sure how we got on this topic, but I think Mom was the first to make this comment. I think she likes to romanticize the story of Dad's side of the family and our long line of plumbers. I think we all do it. It is very special, and is difficult to imagine a company being around since 1882. If there was just one generation that had decided not to go into plumbing, the chain would be broken, and this special tradition would not be a part of our lives.
The reason I bring all this up, is that seeing that truck was a catalyst for my thoughts of "What was I born to be???" Ever since I was in the 2nd or 3rd grade I have been through the gamut of professions. The very first thing I wanted to be was a pencil farmer in Pennsylvania - Yes, that's right, I have no idea where my childhood friend Bruce Raymond and I came up with this brilliant idea - might have had something to do with the fact that it rhymed? Not sure. Anyway, in high school I wanted to be a veterinarian, and that stuck until I wanted to be a history professor in college. Then a counselor once I moved into my major and working on getting my degree in communication...
I think the next thing I wanted to be was a photographer. Not just any photographer - I wanted to be a National Geographic Photographer. I worked for a black and white photographer in Portland for a while. I also did some freelance work for this guy I like to refer to as Pagan Pete, in 1996. He wanted me to take black and white photographs of beautiful, scantily clad people (not pagans) during the full moon, doing these pagan rituals. It was definitely a stage I was going through and I don't know why I agreed to it - just sounded like something strange and interesting enough to try once. I dragged my friend Tony along with me since there is strength in numbers. He and I enjoyed the dangerous aspect of the whole thing together. The guy barely wanted to share his last name with us...
Anyway, I digress, I also wanted to be a singer, and there was a short stint in a band called "Tin Can Genie". Ok, it was obvious we were not going anywhere but we had so much fun practicing in Joe's basement and playing out at some local Missoula haunts. We were a mix of funk, rock, folk, and everything in between.
Another big one for me over the years was to be a writer. I've always wanted to write about my trip out west and the fact that it happened, in essence, because of a game of rock-paper-scissors. Here it is, ten years later, and I still haven't done this yet, but the info is there. And I still have our journals, for when I get around to it. Always, always, always wanted to be a travel writer/photographer.
There are too many to list, and I'm sure your interest is dwindling (if you haven't already nodded off on your keyboard!), so here are some others, not in any specific order. I want to be a photographer, plumber, landscape artist, carpenter, gardener, professional athlete, adventure guide in another country, peace corp volunteer, fly fishing guide, documentary film producer, sushi chef, artist, disaster relief worker, policeman, owl researcher, interior decorator, plant specialist, detective/private investigator, firefighter (wildfires), smokejumper, teacher, professor, Run a doggy day-hike business, sailboat captain, explorer (get sponsors to help me get to the ends of the earth), Montana hiking/adventure guide, Web Designer (of course!). I'm sure I'm missing tons...
But, with this long list of things that I want to be when I grow up - how can I accomplish them all in this lifetime?
I wonder what about these careers have attracted me over the years? There are stories about all of them, believe me, like the "Detective" career - I wanted to look into that for a couple reasons. In 1999 this girl Kate Grant and I started a womens fly fishing club and one of the women who joined was Tary Mocabee. We had been fishing and skiing and had just started a friendship when I found out that she had died under "suspicious" circumstances up on her land in Ronan. I have always been curious about what really happened, and would like to have had the skills to find out more from friends, neighbors, etc. The Independent wrote an article about Tary in July 2001. There was another instance that I thought I might like to be a detective. One night a woman jumped off the Wilma Building in downtown Missoula. The story haunted me and a few days later I called the Missoula Police Dept to find out if they had checked out the webcam that is pointed at the Wilma. They said that they would check into it and the guy also said that I should look into a career in crime investigation. I guess I took it to heart.
Why can't I just make up my mind? I do know one thing! There is no specific career that I was born to do. I love what I do, don't get me wrong, its just that I want to do all of them!
Oh, just to give you the update - I did get the new clicker for my car, and while I was there I turned on a little charm and got the technician to tighten my rear view mirror after he was at it! Two checks off my checklist!