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Keep dreaming and try something new

Remember when you were a kid and would dream about the things you wanted to do as an adult?

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I will admit that my vision on that point was rather murky. Yes, being a reporter, like Lois Lane or Clark Kent, did cross my mind from time to time. But so did being an astronaut, a doctor and a famous musician.

For quite a while, I was convinced that I wanted to be an archaeologist, traveling the globe, digging in the dirt and discovering all sorts of lost treasures in exotic locations. In fact, I was completely fascinated with fossilized bones — first from dinosaurs and then from the earliest hominids.

I’m not exactly sure why I didn’t pursue those ambitions. Maybe it was lack of an available program of study at my schools of choice, or perhaps it was my more practical side, telling me I needed a more stable career that would keep me closer to home.

Very few of my dream jobs would have made me a wealthy person.

There were definitely career fields that I knew I was not interested in as well. Even though becoming a doctor was a common goal for young people when I was growing up, I never had the stomach for injections and incisions. If I didn’t like to think about those things, how could I possibly perform them as part of my job?

I never really wanted to be a teacher, either, although I was for about four years. I come by the ability to teach naturally — my mother, grandmother and brother all were teachers. And the way I see it, teaching is a big part of my job today. By writing informative news articles, I help to inform our readers so that they learn new things. I also spend time each and every day working with other staff members and helping them learn to improve their skills.

I could have been an engineer. I was accepted to a program and had all the prerequisite courses I needed. In the end, though, study of the required subjects just didn’t interest me very much.

At one point, I strongly felt that I wanted to be a veterinarian. I love almost all animals, and the idea of being able to help them was quite appealing to me. However, I had the same reservations about that as I did about the field of human medicine. I just didn’t think I could stand to perform surgery or to euthanize any creature.

So, I took a meandering path to where I am today. I must say that journalism — and newspaper reporting, editing and designing in particular — has been a good fit for me.

Not only do I seem to have a knack for the work, but I truly believe it is important. I know that without local journalism, our society and individual communities would suffer. Every single day, I feel that I have made an important difference by keeping our readers informed, holding government officials accountable to the public and helping to facilitate communication among many people.

There are plenty of other things I like to do outside of work, and there are things I still hope to do in the future.

Right now, for example, I like to get my hands dirty. As frequent readers of this column already know, I greatly enjoy gardening and growing much of my own food as the seasons here in Eastern Ohio allow.

I also enjoy home improvement projects and yard work. Landscaping is a favorite pursuit, and just about anything that my husband and I can do ourselves, we will try.

We are both animal lovers and have had a few pets together. The thing is, my husband, Mike, is a cat person; I’m a dog person. That’s not to say that I don’t love our pet cats. But I just seem to click with dogs, whether they are mine or not.

That leads me to hope that one day in the future I will have a pet dog again. Our dog, Houdini, died at 14 years of age a few years back. Circumstances and the time needed to recover from that loss have dictated that we have not taken in another dog so far.

Beyond having a pet canine, however, I have a related ambition. I think that someday, I would actually like to learn how to train dogs for a specific purpose. I haven’t decided yet what purpose would best suit my abilities. That may depend on how long it is before I actually try to make that dream a reality.

Several years ago, I reported on a family that trained guide dogs for handicapped individuals. While I was visiting their home, I realized that not only did they get to experience the joy of having the animals in their home, but that they were also serving a higher purpose. The dogs they were nurturing and would have to give up in a few months were going to make profound differences in the lives of their future owners. Ever since, the ambition to do something similar has been in the back of my mind.

So, whether you are actively working or retired, don’t give up on your dreams. There is always time to try something new.

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