This weekend I sent myself out for some mandatory fun. Mandatory because between the bad weather and the week I’d just had, I was in danger of becoming Our Lady of the Infinite Sweatpants; she who refuses to leave the house and sits alone drinking red wine and watching angsty independent films. Saturday night I went out to a hole-in-the-wall country bar with a few of my closest friends. It’s my dear friend K who always suggests this place because it reminds her of the dives back in her home town of Clovis, CA. They have live music and cheap beer and some lively senior citizens with rather remarkable dance moves who’ve probably been practicing their two-step since before we were all born.
But before going out to find our inner cowgirls, my friend S and I attended the matinee performance of the youth company of a circus arts school (of which I happen to know the very charming director)—an institution that, from what I can tell, is exactly as awesome as it sounds.
The kids were crazy talented. Do you remember knowing kids like that when you were young? In the context of school they seemed ordinary but then somehow or other you found out they had this amazing talent—they jumped horses or did ballet—and you realized they had this secret life and suddenly they seemed lit from within, headed towards some extraordinary future. Now surely amongst this particular group of kids there are plenty who will grow up to be accountants or lawyers but I like to think at least one or two have already made up their minds that juggling or tightrope or aerial is it for them, that this is what they want to do not just as a hobby but as a vocation. And I hope that they naysayers and rent payments that will come later on won’t dissuade them.
The older I get the more I realize that most people go through a lot of trial and error before finding their real passion, if they ever find it at all. It wasn’t like that for me. I entertained the idea of doing something in addition to writing novels (professional tennis player, UN interpreter, magazine editor—natch) but never instead of. I just never did grow out of my fondness for make believe I suppose; it was always that other world beyond the visible that called my name.
What did you want to be when you were a kid? Did you go for it?