I'm going to start this post with the dreaded rhetorical question: Did you ever set out to do one thing, and find yourself taking a completely different path? One you didn't think you wanted? One that led to self-fulfilment and satisfaction?
That old Stones tune struck a chord with me last week. I looked back at all the goals I had set when I was a fresh young newbie in the big bad world. I thought I was going to be the next Robert Bateman (except a girl). That dream was dashed when I discovered it wasn't easy to get a job after graduation painting stuff. So I chose Graphic Arts. That was a bust -- medical problems forced me to drop out halfway through my second semester.
I looked at my options the next year and entered a Visual Arts Instructor Training course at my local community college. This introduced me to photography, and I ended up working at a camera store after graduation.
After years of selling film and taking in photofinishing, the boss moved me upstairs to assemble the store's newspaper ads.
Full circle. I now work for a newspaper, making ads.
I recently realized this theme runs through the novel I'm currently subbing. The main character has a serious crush on a boy, but in her efforts to get his attention she distances herself from her volatile home life. She then finds the courage to return home and becomes closer than ever to her mother.
The same thing can be said for the author. A new writer might set out to win the Booker Prize, but it may not be in the cards. Who knows, he or she might end up as a best selling mystery or romance writer, with sales quadrupling any literary author's.
Is your path straight, or did it take a few left turns? Are you happy where you ended up or will you peek around the next corner?
You can't always get what you want, but you might get what you need.