When I was 13 years old, my teacher gave me an assignment. Write your life story. You probably think I had a big experience to remember doing it after all these years later. Not even close – I saved my life story and came across it about a year ago while cleaning out my personal files.
It amazed me. On my front cover, I wrote:
“This is a story of a person who has happy, funny and tragic disasters happen to her.”
My story started at the beginning, the day I was born. While I read my life story up until 13, I marveled at what was important to me – the events that stood out and what my perspective was of my family – especially my two brothers. But that was not what struck me as remarkable.
The last page was My Future. It was where I described my dreams as a young teenager.
I’d like to share with you what I aspired to be when I grew up. Excuse my spellling and punctuation – after all I was only 13 years old!
In the future, I hope to win some kind of prize as a ribbon or trophy for our big track meet. I hope to be a good runner some day. I also hope to make cheerleading.
In the later years, I hope to go to college like Bowling Green and major in education to become a teacher of mathematics. Or I hope to major in psychology and become a school counselor.
I would also like to find the right man to marry. I think I would like to have four children.
During while I go to college I would like to make some spending money. I have been sort of dreaming of working in the school cafeteria or being an errand runner for some business organization or be a part time typer. I plan in high school to take in very deep math. I also think it would be handy to take shorthand. And besides taking it for the reason later it will also give some extra credits.
I plan to become a good bowler like my mom.
I think I would like to have my house when I get older be somewhere near Ohio because it is a good location in the United States almost in the middle.
Recently someone told me that we have more clarity about what we want to do or be in our lives at age 13 than we do as an adult. After reading My Future, I believe it. I accomplished or superseded the majority of the things on this list – I won my ribbons, made cheerleading, went to college and made career choices consistent with my interests. The only thing I really never did was marry the right man and have four children.
So, if you have your life story tucked away somewhere, pull it out and read it. If you have teenagers, give them the same assignment if they did not get it from their teacher. Have them save their life story. They will be glad they did.
My mother told me a few years ago that I used to come home very upset because the teacher was asking me to tell her what I wanted to be. I would cry and plead confusion because I ‘liked too many things to decide”. I too knew what I was talking about. I have explored several careers and only recently settled down with three I juggle at the same time. There is substantial research that shows by 4-6 grade aptitudes are identified and with a healthy self-awareness and standard level of maturity a 13 year old should have a basic understanding of their future. We were both right… and neither of us married the right man – 2 for 2.
Karla, if you know where that body of research is and can link or reference it here, that would be awesome!
Lynn, neat article! I didn’t write a life story, but I remember reading an article in the Sunday newspaper when I was in junior high (I think) about a poet. In the article it talked about huge assortment of strange and wonderful jobs the poet had had during his life such as dishwasher, cowboy, taxi driver, and so on. I had been playing with and writing poetry since 4th grade and that article stayed with me about what I needed to do if I was going to be a good poet. So like that poet, I too, have experienced many strange and some wonderful jobs from being trained as a Russian linguist in the Army to driving a taxi to working as a public services librarian to communications manager. Maybe it’s time to finally write that book of poetry!
Remembering the things that inspire you and going after your dream not matter what stage in your life is fulfilling. Have fun writing your book!