Take your time growing up

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 9, 2002

Who do you want to be before you grow up? I know as a child you were questioned many times about what you wanted to be when you grew up, but what about BEFORE you grow up?

You probably still have time to indulge those secret lives you've dreamed about through the years. As children, we thought we'd be nurses, doctors, firemen and ballerinas. My daughter always wanted to be either a supreme court judge or work at McDonald's. Both professions seemed equally appealing and attainable. But what she wants to do now before she grows up, only she knows. And I'm sure the same is true of you.

If, instead of the life you are living today, you had five other lives to lead, what would you be doing? I thought about that question and found it difficult to limit the number to five. But after some contemplation, my list is complete.

Email newsletter signup

The first answer is automatic because it is so strong in me. I'd be a blues singerthe kind that could, on Saturday night, make listeners feel every teardrop and hurt that comes when your man does you wrong and then make them celebrate every glory and jubilation in Heaven come Sunday morning.

Next, I would be a tree-hugging hippie throwback like in the lyrics, "I saw a Berkeley woman sitting in a rocking chair, a dulcimer in her lap, a feather in her hair" I'd play music that hearkened back to the history of these mountains where I live. My music would accompany the winter snow and fierce winds that blow down this valley.

In another of my lives I would be a playful grandmother who does not fear the ridiculous because she knows that imagination is never ridiculous. I'd be the one who takes her granddaughter shopping for an orange bra because she wanted to wear it outside her shirt on the first day of kindergarten. Or I would wear pink fuzzy slippers when I took my grandson to lunch because he thought they were cool.

Next, I would be an accomplished communicator of the written word. My thoughts would be so finely honed that readers would be able see truth and clarity in every thought.

And lastly, I would be an eccentric old lady who has no thought nor care about how she is perceived. I'd wear outlandish clothes just because they suited my mood. I'd speak my mind. And I'd not worry about being unlovable. Now my list is complete. I could go into my secret desire to be a witch (only of the best kind), but that treads on the toes of those who don't have their tongues in their cheeks.

Now you know my other lives. So how do I integrate them into what I live day to day? First, I don't have a singer's vocal chords. I know the words to a thousand tunes and oh, can I ever feel them in my soul. But my singing definitely has to be done alone. That's why I'm often seen wailing away in the privacy of my automobile.

So far as the hippie throwback goes, I indulge in that from time to time. You know, what goes out of town stays out of town. The playful grandmother is alive and well. I am frustrated by the lack of opportunity to exercise this side of myself, but it is there, getting riper every day.

So now, what about you? Who lives inside you? How can all those parts of you be expressed? How can you bring some of the magic of those imaginary lives into your everyday existence? Don't put it off. Don't wait until after your term in office in the garden club is over, or your kids are older, or finances are more stable. None of this takes money. It does take a little time to think it through. But mostly it takes your letting go of the reins that hold the secret parts of you in check. And you might ought to hurry. You may be grown up soon.