What did you want, what did you get? (life plans)

For those of use that seemed to take a left at the exit, or look like a hummingbird in flight.

I was - going to be a mechanical engineer. Fell on my face after the first few semesters.

I am – a GIS programmer. It fits.

My Wife was – going to do a lot of fun stuff. She has a degree from Penn State in outdoor recreation (Yep).

My Wife is – A real-estate property appraiser. Not so much of a fit.

I wanted to be a doctor. I ended up following my hormones and married to two of the most worthless contributions to humanity in existence in quick succession and two children that I love dearly but do care for on my own.

I am now back on track - back in school to be a nurse, kids in tow, exes nowhere to be seen. I think I got the best of the deal.

I guess I stayed in the same general field but I did realize that I could not do medical school and wasn’t even sure I wanted to anymore with the enormous time away from my kids as it would require. Even if my parents (who have been wonderful and supportive and helped me) would keep the kids all those times - and I know they would - that would have been big chunks out of my kids’ lives that I would miss and they’ve already had one parent give up on them. I’m not going to let them think it is a pattern to be followed, ya know?

I had orginally planned a career in law enforcement. Now I’m a database administrator who teaches Taekwondo.

My dad was really hoping I’d become a lawyer and take over the firm.

I guess my tale counts. I’ve told it here more than once.

I was in love with a woman who would not marry me due to my dismal future (parking attendant.)

I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but always thought that I had some great stories in me, so I wrote a novel. I bought a computer to type it up on.

The novel sucked but I sort of had a knack for software, so I figured what the heck, I’d go to school to do that while I figured out life.

Twenty-X years later and I’m still developing software.

I was raised to believe I was a worthless piece of shit who could never do anything worthwhile. I wanted to marry someone who would support me because I obviously couldn’t do anything.

I had two marriages that ended in divorce by the time I was 28. I decided to get a job rather than have another marriage.

I’ve been on my own since then. I am not the world’s most successful person, but I do run my own life and take care of myself.

I was going to be a Naval Aviator. A high school skiing injury nixed that.

I planned to have my own airplane, a house, a wife and a couple of kids.

I have a house.

Good for you Annie. You never know what life will bring.

The best people in the world are those that can recover.

I wanted to be a scientist, but there was that whole “math” thing.

I was always fairly good at art, but was told, “Art is a good hobby, but you’ll never make a living at it.”

Now I do special effects for video games, and I think I’ve got the best job in the world.

:confused: I have had for some time the impression that you had your own helicopter. I realize it’s not a plane, but doesn’t that deserve mention?

Or am I laboring under a false impression?

I wish I had my own helicopter! No, I’ve only rented. FWIW, fixed-wings tend to cost half as much to buy, and carry twice as much at half-again better speed for half the operating cost.

Wow, I don’t know how I had that so wrong in my head.

I wanted to be a doctor who married his high school sweetheart and lived on his family farm on the shores of Lake Michigan.

30+ years later, I have that.

I also eventually wanted to be clean and sober. I eventually got that too, without (permanently) losing the other things.

Despite many sorrows and unnumbered tears along the way, I still believe I’m very lucky.

Would that you were right!

I was going to be a vet, get married, buy a house and I’d have at least one kid by the time I was 27.

While I did get married, I ended up with a biochemistry degree, worked in pharmaceutical labs, quit, and am back in school in mechanical engineering with an interest in aviation safety. I’m in my final month of being 27, and kids will have to wait at least a few more years. Dunno about a house; maybe in the next year, but it’ll be a duplex or triplex.

I wanted to be Jane Goodall but things took a sharp turn when I basically flunked out of graduate school.

I am a medical technologist working in a hospital lab and some days I wish I were treated as well a a chimpanzee. However, I make a decent wage and pretty much live as I want so it’s not a bad life I suppose.

I still have a bush hat in the closet somewhere.

(I just wrote this up for another messageboard, on the purely career-wise aspect of this question:)

Well, when I was a very young child, I wanted to be a fireman. You know how it is…

But for a long time, once I moved into childhood aspirations that are semi-serious, what I wanted to do was make videogames. I was kind of obsessed; kept trying to launch off some project or another with various friends, and so forth. I got a degree in computer science and everything, but that’s not what I’m doing; apart from the realization that it’s not actually a glamorous job for most people, these days I’m also somehow just not that into even playing videogames anymore (which is a shame).

That having been said, I also knew for a long time, even in high school, that I’d also like to be a mathematician, even specifically working in mathematical logic, and that’s where I am. But the glory on this is dulling too… (perhaps because what I actually wanted to be was a brilliant, cutting-edge, world-class mathematician).

And, of course, at various times, I had myriad other dabbling interests which I thought about (e.g., writing), all of which have entirely faded from my life.

That reads as rather dismal, but it’s not really; it’s just average life.

I never really wanted to be anything in particular. Guess I got my wish because I became nothing in particular.

I had a weird childhood with a sort of “low expectations” upbringing, so in grade school I figured I’d be drafted and killed in Vietnam, since that seemed to be all the rage in my neighborhood. By the time I got to junior high school and was doing well at math, I figured I’d become an accountant, because I didn’t know of more than about a dozen careers that existed.

By the time I took my first physics class in high school, I still didn’t know what I wanted, but had broadened it to “something to do with math.” My physics teacher was one of those (sadly) rare teachers who kept pushing me and challenging me, also encouraging me to join the astronomy club. Near the end of the year, he made some off-handed comment in class that “Mr. Groo’s Last Name” would probably go to Caltech and become a physicist. So I went there and got a degree in physics, albeit with considerable difficulty (physics -> math -> geology -> physics -> the hell with everything I quit -> physics + two extra years because I practically flunked out twice).

Though I graduated with a miserable self-image and a disdain for anything related to science or engineering, a weird confluence of events resulted in my stumbling into a job writing software for radar systems, which was one of the few jobs almost defined to be “a place where physics majors who don’t get PhDs can find gainful employment.” As opposed to college, the place where I worked only wanted 40 hours a week of my time, and they paid me. I flourished in this environment, so 24 years later, I still develop radar software, and my physics background helps me quite often. So, I’d say that basically worked out.

However, since I never imagined that I’d live very long, I didn’t give a whole lot of thought to details of my actual life as an adult (though by my mid-20s I’d added marriage, children and a house to those goals). None of those later additions has panned out yet, but I’m still exceeding my earlier expectations (i.e., body bag flown back from Vietnam), so I’m winging it, and anything that happens is mostly gravy.

I had an abusive, horrendous childhood and never made a plan for adulthood, but then I wasn’t taught to, or how to. When adulthood came, I was so full of self-loathing and low expectations for myself that I shunned a “normal” life. Loving and being loved, living in an actual stable place for a long time, or having normal, healthy relationships? Those things, I figured, were not for me, because that was not what I was used to.

Then therapy. And now I live that stable life with love and peace and health, and I must say that I like it. And that I do deserve it.

Wanted: Journalism, at first, then I did an internship and discovered I really didn’t want to be a journalist. Then (and currently) a career in international development.

What I’m in the process of getting: hopefully an exciting career in retail or unskilled office bitch work. Quite possibly the epitome of loserdom by moving back in with my parents after graduating and being an unemployed waste of flesh.