If you had a do-over, I mean; a chance to go back to the beginning of your working life. This thought popped into my mind today as I drove past a car accident that had just happened. It appeared both drivers were out of their cars safely, but there was significant damage and other people (who looked very capable) had stopped to offer assistance, and a woman on her front lawn was already on the phone. The young male driver looked incredibly distraught; he was wringing his hands, in fact. Maybe he had just gotten his license. Maybe it was his parents’ car and he feared they’d be less than understanding. Anyway, my instinct was to stop and offer to help. Help do what? Give him a hug? If only I had some medical background, or counselling skills, I could have offered to help. But I knew I’d be useless.

I’ve always envied people with those skills, people who remain calm, cool and collected in a crisis, people who don’t get queasy around injury and illness. Life savers. I’m the kind of person who almost faints when she goes to pick up her husband from wisdom teeth surgery because there’s a trickle of blood on his chin. Uh-huh.

So, since I could never have become a medical person (due to queasiness and almost failing high school chemistry) or a counsellor, I might have liked to be an artist, except for the fact my talent stalled in about grade 4 and never restarted. But when I see inspirational scenes like this, in Lunenburg Harbour (especially when I’m writing a novel set in 1753 Lunenburg):


I really understand what motivates people to try to capture such elegance in art. But I’ll leave that to them and stick with words.  If you click the picture, it looks more impressive when it’s larger. (the tall ship, BTW, is the Peacemaker, a barquentine owned by The Twelve Tribes, a religious group (?) with 50 communities in North and South America, Europe and Australia)

At this stage of life, I realize there are some things certain people just aren’t cut out to do – for a multitude of reasons. But if you had a do-over, if you were 16 again and thinking about a career, what would you be?

10 thoughts on “WHAT WOULD YOU BE?

  1. This is always a good question but you know, after thinking about it, I would do exactly what I have done. I’m about to retire and I have no regrets. I’ve been a retail manager, a recruiter an ESL teacher and an employment counsellor. I never planned to be any of those things but I’m glad I did those jobs. I am also, and always will be, a writer of course. I’m not planning to retire from that career. That is a fabulous picture of the tall ship!

    1. Isn’t it funny where life takes you – so often in a very different direction from what you imagined. I’m a teacher by trade, but I ended up making toddlers’ clothes for 15 years because I wanted to be available for my kids. I got sick of making hats, but I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. And no, writers never retire. Can’t remember if I told you, but I’ll be touring in the Vancouver area for TD Book Week next May, so perhaps we’ll meet!

  2. mirkabreen

    I’d be a museum curator who writes on the side, or a writer who works at a museum part time. As it is, I’m not too far off, so all’s good.
    But the one thing I would definitely re-do is to start a family sooner and have six kids.

    1. Wow! I was thinking 3 kids might have been nice, but I settled for a dog. Seems a lot of young people these days are really delaying starting a family – hopefully they don’t regret that. And of course, parenting is a forever job, especially when you consider the possibility of grandchildren …

  3. Vijaya

    Always a good thing to think about … some regrets run deep. I’d like to have had more courage and pursue my dream of being a country doctor / writer. And like Mirka, I would’ve liked to have married sooner and have those half-dozen children 🙂 Oh, yes, I want it all.

    1. Hi, Vijaya – I feel like I know you a bit just from your active involvement in the Blue Boards. I know someone who is just now finishing up medical training at the age of 51 – never too late! Thanks for stopping by.

  4. It’s funny because when I was young, I always wanted to be a writer. As I got to be an adult, though, I forgot about that dream for a few years. If I could have a do-over, I think I’d try to hold on to that dream the whole way through without letting myself get sidetracked.

  5. Hi, Anna – I’ve often expressed that myself. My first book was published when I was 45. I always wonder how many books I may have had inside me if I’d started when I was 30 or so. Hopefully my life experience helps inform my writing in a good way:) And now that I know how all-consuming writing can be, it’s probably just as well I didn’t take it up when my kids were small. Nice to see you!

  6. I would work with wildlife, studying snails or bonobos or pygmy shrews in their natural habitat. Or I’d study literature. (Like you, I had my first book published in my forties.) I still think about going back to school in English Lit someday. And maybe I’ll get a critter cam for the back yard. Never too late to make the best of things. 🙂

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