This is Life, Based on a True Story  

Growing up is hard to do

When I was six years old, I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. The thought of writing on a chalkboard all day really appealed to me.

By the time I was 14, I decided I’d rather be a doctor – a neurosurgeon or cardiologist. Then, I found out I’d need to be pretty good at math, science and biology …. That ended that dream.

In high school, I figured being a political scientist would be my profession. I wasn’t sure what they did, but I’d heard Connie Chung talking about it once and thought it sounded like, er, fun.

Again, the reality of the amount of education and history I needed to know scared me off. I was more of a gym and music class scholar.

I finally settled on getting my post-secondary diploma in Radio and Television Arts and Broadcasting … stars in my eyes with the confidence of any 20 year old that I would be the next Katie Couric … except that …

I wasn’t willing or able to leave Edmonton to do my practicum … and for some reason, the major television stations weren’t handing out six o’clock news anchor positions to new grads. Go figure.

And so, I obtained the degree in my course, worked for a couple years in the industry before taking my lumps and becoming a receptionist in a completely unrelated field with regular Monday to Friday work day hours and a somewhat stable salary.

I had many moments of “what if” and “why didn’t I,” but you can’t change what has already passed. So I pretended I was more involved in the media industry than I was, by trying to regale anyone who’d listen with stories about my “many” media escapades.

I guess I never really felt like I’d succeeded at anything 100 per cent in my career life. So the life I’d wanted, I’d create with my recounting of experiences. Everything was true – it just sounded better than the reality that actually took place.

Fast forward 20-some odd years. A couple of kids and spouse later, plus my very fair share of jobs. I managed to get some writing assignments purely through luck and the people I knew.

It’s something I enjoy and like any writer, would like to one day pen that perfect best seller – be it as a columnist or a book author or whatever else would allow me the freedom of working from home and using my actual God-given talent.

I currently have a job that provides me with what I need to survive, including friends, laughter and purpose.

But I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

And apparently, I’m not alone in this thought at my age.

I recently had an intriguing conversation about how millennials don’t plan to, nor do they want to stay at any job for more than five years. They feel there is more to life than the same career for 35 years and want to experience a bit of everything.

The old way of thinking that I grew up with – which is your true measure of success goes part and parcel with your longevity at your job – is being shunned by the up and coming generations.

Wow! Suddenly I’m successful for having so much “experience.” Who knew …

On one hand, I admire the younger generations for being so open-minded and willing to try out whatever they think might make them happy – even if it takes them 20 years.

But on the other hand, I crave the stability and assurance a long-time career brings.

With that said, I still have no idea what it is I would do from now until I retire if I could only choose one thing.

And as stated previously, I’m not alone. The others I was talking to about this were all within my age range plus or minus a few years, and it was startling to all of us to realize it’s a commonly held feeling among our age group.

I now look back and realize how unrealistic it is for many of us to know exactly what our chosen life path is at the age of 19 o 20. Many of us are still living at home with our parents at that age and the biggest decision we had to make was cereal or toast for breakfast.

All said, I kinda have an idea about what I want to do … the execution is just a bit of hurdle. But in the meantime, I’ll just continue to do what I’m doing … it keeps me engaged, challenges me and provides me with a social circle I wouldn’t otherwise have.

And honestly – I don’t know if I’ll ever know exactly what I want to be when  … or if I grow up.

Thanks for reading.


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About the Author

Tanya Gunderson has been writing for the heck of it for many years. Her inspiration comes from her kids, their friends and the craziness of life. She takes great pleasure in exposing life for what it really is and has an open-book approach to her writing.

Her formal education and background include a blink-and-you miss-it stint in the radio and television industry, but it gave her an opportunity to write professionally on a few different occasions.

Email: [email protected]



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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