Home > Uncategorized > Now I Know What I Should Have Done With My Life (but it doesn’t matter now, because it’s too late.)

Now I Know What I Should Have Done With My Life (but it doesn’t matter now, because it’s too late.)

I am looking back over my life now because I’m old enough to have that denouement perspective. It is important for you to remember that when I was a young man in high school, the years were 1950-1955. Our access to the world’s opportunities and societies was not one percent of what it is now. Now, sixty years later, I can see this world and it’s societies quite clearly, through television and internet.

I was born into a previous era that was honestly primitive by today’s standards. We had an ice-box and a man with a horse drawn wagon brought blocks of ice to provide cooling in the ice-box. Jump from that image to how we live today, and you can see the breadth of my perspective.

Most of the men in my expanded family became lawyers or something similar. I mean all the male cousins close in age to my age, throughout my maternal and paternal family. I was put under considerable pressure to also become a lawyer. I suppose my cousins were, too, and so they followed the family trail into the family law firm that was started by the eldest uncle among all the uncles.

I just couldn’t bring myself to follow the family flow. I hated school. I was happy to escape school before I even matriculated, and went to work as a truckers’ helper in a scrap yard. It was great! Going to incredibly noisy old factories that were stamping out metal things of some kind. A pots and pans maker was making the big, galvanized steel garbage cans that we all know. Another plant made brass screws of all sizes. A third factory hammered out nails, and I’m sure the noise level in that place would have been illegal.

I was happy, because I wasn’t in school and I was earning a few bucks. I started hanging around bohemian jazz clubs most nights, and places where artists and actors gathered. To make a long story short, I became a writer, I produced a few television things, and enjoyed the precarious pleasures of being comparatively free versus a law office. It was all very nice, but now that I know what I could have done, I realize what I should have done.

I look at my wide, HD, flat-screen television and see stunning panoramas of African veldt alive with massive herds of wildebeest and zebras. I see massive chunks of glacier plummet into the ocean. I see the birth of a killer whale… and in every case, I think about who took those pictures? Who was really there, really feeling, hearing and smelling the scene?

Had I been aware, back there in the fifties, of some of the options, I’d have educated myself for a career as a naturalist/filmmaker. The tests I took to help me define my potential showed that I should be a writer in show business. The second choice was forest ranger. Within two months of getting the test results I was succeeding as a writer for television. So that’s what I did for about thirty years, and much of the time it was very enjoyable and lucrative.

Still, it sure would have been a nice life, out there in the forest, watching for fires or wildlife problems.

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