I'm preparing a presentation for a group of teachers, and a question I will ask them has come back around to me: How did you come to do the work you do?
I think many of us float into our vocations. For me, a small town girl in the '60s whose mother, grandmother, and great-grandfather had all been teachers, choice wasn't really choosing. It was more doing what I thought I could and should do. Luckily, I loved teaching and made a good living at it.
But now I'm a writer, and I can't imagine doing anything else. What if I'd made that decision forty years ago?
Honestly, I think teaching prepared me for writing. I know there are writers who do brilliant work in their twenties, but I don't think it would have been me. I knew I liked to write, but that isn't the same as having something to say.
John Lennon said that when he was a boy and people asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he said "Happy." They said he didn't understand the question; he said they didn't understand the answer.
I think what we want to be changes over time. I'm really glad I spent thirty years working with kids, trying to get them to see their potential, before I finally took a breath, looked around, and realized my own.