You Can’t Do That

You cannot be anything you want.

I learned this decades ago when my mother pointed out to my twelve year-old self that I did not have the aptitude nor the body to be a ballerina. Always practical, mom went on to say that there were lots of other things I could do, but dancing, while fun, would never pay the bills for me.

Fast forward five years: I wanted to be a doctor. Then, I took anatomy in high school. Nope. That fetal pig did me in, not to mention all the earthworms and frogs.

Fast forward another five years: Professor Weber asked me to apply for a teaching scholarship that I had already twice been rejected from. I was in the midst of interviewing with the government; I wanted to be a spy. The army even called me regularly to try to recruit my Russian speaking self.

Fast forward five more years: I was a Russian teacher outside of Chicago with one kid, two dogs, a cat, and a stay-at-home husband.

How did this happen?

Seriously, how the fuck did that happen?

Any number of explanations might be offered, but that’s really not the point.

As the requisite spring recitals, graduations, and weddings point us into the future and cause us to reminisce, we might do well to remember that despite all of our planning, we don’t really know what we are doing. Plans get cancelled; the world changes; curve balls get thrown; and there are hairpin turns in almost every road.

images-2We can grow into our lives if we are fair-minded, accepting, and supportive. Oh sure, there are hundreds of other qualities you might suggest to add to this list, but I’ll say: if you can be fair-minded, accepting, and supportive to yourself and others, you might not become anything you want. But, those are qualities that can take you from the dance studio to the operating room to the farm yard to the boardroom to the classroom.

You might not be able to become anything you want, but you can become who you want to be.


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