The rocket of the self


To a sub-hypomanic aspiring polymath like me, life is an arcing parade of aspirations, goals, and might-have beens — other identities that never quite came to fruition or were discarded before being allowed to develop.  But lest such a notion come off as entirely depressing, let’s regard this possibility as not as any sort of evidence of lifelong disappointment but instead as the proud contrail of a personality — a rocket of the self, that must burn up the raw fuel of other potential selves and shoot them out at the world in a great arc while the true self lurks always just beyond the horizon of understanding.

All of which is to say I’m now going to make a list of all of the things I once wanted to be when I grew up.  I’ll go back as far as I can people:

  • at age 3 I began to wish I were an opera singer — I used to wear a towel as a cape and sing at the TV (that explains a few things.)
  • I wanted to be a car wash attendant … or so the grainy photographic evidence would suggest
  • From quite early on (I was born in Europe to American parents and would sometimes fly over the Atlantic as a little kid) I wished to be a commercial aircraft pilot
  • I wanted to be a policeman for about two days in elementary school.
  • As a young teenager I wanted to be Gary Gygax (inventor of Dungeons & Dragons) or a similarly famous RPG designer.
  • I wanted to be a doctor, because I though it was respectable.
  • I wanted to be a PhD in something and teach that thing.  Maybe it’s because my father did this.
  • I wanted to be a historian.
  • Also, a philosopher.  My role model was Bertrand Russell, also David Hume.  Now there was a real philosopher.
  • I wanted to play the following sports (in order of when I wanted this and the intensity of the desire:) hockey, baseball, soccer.
  • I wanted to be a cook.
  • I wanted to be a Republican Senator.
  • I wanted to be a US Marine.
  • I wanted to be a famous writer (emphasis on famous.)
  • I wanted to be all of the following kinds of musicians (and to be fair I actually was some of them if that counts): classical pianist, blues pianist, jazz pianist,  electronic producer, composer of musicals.
  • I wanted to be a poet.  I did this for a while but my poetry became lost and/or wasn’t any good.
  • I wanted to be a civil rights attorney, a intellectual property attorney and/or an immigration attorney.  I’m sometimes told by others that I would have made a good attorney.
  • I wanted to start a nonprofit organization (mission undefined — once I find a mission I might still do this)
  • I wanted to be an actor
  • I wanted to be a software developer.  Mission accomplished on that one.
  • I still (despite what Dorian Corey might say) want to change the world in some way.
The rocket of the self