What was your dream job as a kid?

This is pretty funny. Or seems funny now. I wonder how many other people imagined this same thing. Well, at times, in early adolescence, I imagined working on a ship, traveling the world. This vision was based on old novels and was not very thoroughly worked out in my mind, I can say with certainty now.

But my next aspiration, similar in its worldliness, started in high school, when I fell in love with French. I adored the feeling of speaking it and the passion for bridging to other people through language has never left me. But for many years an image grew in my mind of an international existence. I would know dozens of languages. I think the image formed, in part, based on spy characters in film and TV series. I was drawn to the idea of going anywhere and speaking any language I heard. This expanded to other types of knowledge: knowing what type of stone something was made of, or symbols, thousands of facts. I never thought about the nerdy existence that would be required to gather all these disparate bits of information. I suppose there could be immersive circumstances that would bring such knowledge without burying oneself in tomes of dry facts but … suffice it to say, such immersion did not occur.

Anyway, when I’m asked this question, I often forget about this vague notion I carried. The most concrete idea that developed out of my passion was I enjoyed translation so, when I started college, I studied linguistics. I did love studying languages in general and the exposure to language systems but didn’t learn the history of language families of the world, as I’d come to hope. Of course, I didn’t learn to be a spy, with fluency in a multitude of languages, either.

How many people reading this imagined yourselves in very impractical vocations, or had erroneous ideas about a career path you imagined yourself pursuing?


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