How often have I talked about capitalizing on your passions to find that dream job? Today, as I skimmed Yahoo for news, as I hoped my students do as well, I came across two articles that rang true. One was about the oldest workers in America finding their dream jobs in the later part of their lives. American’s Oldest Workers Who Refuse to Retire I took heart at one of those they interviewed. A 93-year-old woman, who in her late 80’s, took the job as National Park Ranger. My first thought on what I wanted to be in my life occurred in 3rd grade, at the ripe old age of 9. And it was just that, a forest ranger. Today, it would be a Park Ranger.
During that year, I was tasked on doing a small paper for my reading class on what I wanted to be when I grew up. I still have that memory of cruising through my grade school’s library, examining the shelves for books about the National Parks and about their founder, John Muir. I am sure if someone would look back at the records, if they even existed, I probably took out that book half a dozen time. I was obsessed with the National Parks at that age. I was into two television shows at that time. One was the classic medical drama on NBC, called Emergency! and then a spin-off called Sierra, that took place in Yosemite Valley.
Of course for any young person, TV is an impressionable instrument, exposing us to information. It sparks our interest, and in my case, thoughts about the future. Yes, even at 9/10. Okay, I’ll admit, it was my first crush on Johnny Gage that kept me coming back, but deep down, there was something that ignited a fire about opportunities. I could see myself in such a career, helping people and taking care of them. Prime ingredients for our industry of tourism and hospitality.
When Sierra was introduced, and sadly didn’t last even a whole season, it clicked with my love of the outdoors. I was immersed in the familiarity. As a kid, unlike today, and the tug, and pull to get kids outside and into things, the outdoors was my playground. I fondly remember biking at least two miles to a friend’s house, weaving through the roads, and along major highway to their house. There we trekked down, even repelled down the slight grade to the trails to Stackhouse Park. We bounded through the brush, ignoring the bugs, ignoring the potential for snakes, and hit the burn that meandered through the woods at the bottom of the grotto. We searched the rocks, pulled over stones, looking for salamanders and crayfish. We found them, and when we did that was our treasure. I remember the black slimy salamanders crawling over my hand till I had to put them back in the water so they could live.
My Dad, a history teacher, told me about the National Parks, and we had some material lying around the house. I was hooked. I wrote letters to each of the National Parks and asked them kindly to send me their brochure. Envelop after envelop arrived from the individual parks, and I’m sure I drove my Mom crazy. To her credit, and my father’s, they never discouraged such actions. Life is to be explored and be engaged in its motion. I snarfed up my Dad’s National Geographic’s, stealing out the maps, which he hated (the only time he raised his voice in the house–“Where are my maps!”; after all he used them for his classes), and tacked them to my bedroom wall. I laugh now, because you could see the demarcation line that ran through the bedroom that my sister and I shared. My sister’s side marked by posters of the latest heart-throb, the other my maps. It was “Where in the world is Waldo” met American Bandstand. (I can see you quizzical faces now….noodle around Google.)
So getting back to my original thought for this post. Play to your passions. Always, forever. Life is not to be half measures. Passions are at the root of our happiness. Those in that Yahoo article never stopped searching for theirs. And so I come to this generation of students on the search for their careers. It is not about the end game, it is about the journey. Never stop searching as those seniors in that first Yahoo article have done. You all are avid users of technology. Most, if not all of you use several social media platforms. Some of you could care less, some wish they could use it every day and make money, make a living. Well, again, Yahoo has posted some insight. Yahoo shows the way…
How many of your are avid users of Instagram? How many of you like to travel, and wish you could do full-time? Ever thought you could merge the two into a cool way to merge your passions? I am an avid photographer, and always wish I could merge that with travel and writing. I told you in class, during the 1990s, I worked in DC. I worked not a few blocks from Nat Geo at the Mayflower Hotel. I would walk over there on my lunch hour, and stand there, gawking through the window at the revolving globe in the lobby. I drooled, wishing I could work behind those sacred walls. Maybe I will one day. Maybe I’ll become that forest ranger that I wanted to be at the age of 9/10. Could I merge my passions for travel, writing, photography, the National Parks, and service into something unique? I love to teach…..oh the possibilities. I’m sure there is away. I just have to map it out, and look for the possibilities. I have to orchestrate my objectives, tailor my resume, and stomp the pavement.
I counsel all of you to map it out, to get it down on paper and commit to achieving your dreams. You can’t let it stew, and fester in your mind, in your heart. Half the start of any dream is bringing it to life. And that starts with one page of paper, and a pencil. A stylus, and an iPad. Even your phone.
Go for it…