Saturday, April 21, 2007

What I want to be when I grow up

I'm not clear about what I want to do when I grow up but there have been a few times in my life I have had an absolutely clear vision of what I want to be like. This is about two of those times.

The first time I remember was when I was 12. When I think of it I always have a very strong memory of the exact place - sitting on the toilet at my grandma's house. I can see the turquiose walls and light filtering through the frosted louvres. The curtains moving in the light breeze. Slightly cold but comfortable. The smells of lavender and disinfectant.

In that place, at that time, I decided that I wanted to be popular and have lots of friends. I wanted to be the kind of person that people wanted to be friends with.

When I was 18 at university I realised that I'd acheived that 12 year-olds goal. I was popular. I had lots of friends and I was one of the people who everyone wanted to know. (It helped that "everyone" was a bunch of 19 year-old male comp sci students and I had the winning combination of brains and breasts.)

The second time I want to tell you about happened years later, about 1998. I went to a friend's parents' house and met her father. He in his fifties and was pottering around wearing support stockings and had an oxygen tube up his nose. Despite that, in less than five minutes of trivial converstation he managed to come across as confident, sincere, sensible, warm and interested in me. He had presence. I decided - I want to be like that.

Later I found out he was a manager at a bank. It made sense - he seemed like a person it would be nice to work for. I also realised then that some of the things that I wanted to be were things that good managers are.

Sometimes these days I have that presence.

1 comment:

Karen said...

You've been the kind of person I wanted to be friends with at least since you were 15... and sometimes I don't even mind when you try to manage me:-)