If I had known more about myself before I started college I probably would have become an architect.
One of the disadvantages of being young is that you don’t know what you don’t know. In my youth there was a lot I didn’t know about myself.
I liked art and enjoyed sketching from a young age; natural scenery and buildings have always been my two favorite themes. (I credit my dad because he was quite talented at sketching even though he underestimated his skills.)
I also enjoyed science early on. I had rheumatic fever as a child and had to rest a lot; I spent most of that time reading and often I’d choose books on science. In college I took my first physics class which became one of my favorite subjects.
During the project management phase of my career I learned that I both enjoyed and had a knack for planning and organizing.
Architecture combines the science of design (structural stress factors, etc.) with the art of design, along with planning and organizing the project. Add to that a love of old European buildings and there’s a near perfect fit for me.
But, after finally retiring, I really don’t want to start a new career. So now I use my “might have been” skills to design my personal projects. Instead of proper architectural plans I do to scale layouts on graph paper and sometimes automate them in a spreadsheet. I’ve also had fun playing around with the free version of SketchUp.
But plans for one’s life aren’t as straightforward as house plans.
Life is like a roller-coaster of twists and turns, tunnels and obstacles, with detours from decisions, both good and bad. The direction we start out often doesn’t lead to where we planned to go.
Some are vigilant and keep correcting their course along the way.
Others let go of the revised direction and create a new path to their goals.
One may embrace the new destination, while another will bemoan what might have been.
I’ve heard it said “I don’t have a choice”. The fact is there is always a choice; it just may not be an easy one.
It certainly hasn’t been a straight road from my original dream to where I am now, and it’s taken many more years than I had expected, but it’s certainly been an interesting journey.
I’ll leave you with a quote attributed to George Eliot “It is never too late to become what you might have been.”