I wanted to be a neurosurgeon. And I also wanted to follow the script.
Years before I turned 10 years old, I was part of a special feature at church. Pre-schoolers were the star of that little show. And each one of us was asked to memorize a few lines. If you were a parent whose kid could recite lines without being fed them, you know yours would get picked.
As one of those kids, I remember the excitement and the nervousness. And—of course—the cuteness! Or that is what my mother says.
So, yes, the program went without a hitch. At least, that is what my memory tells me.
Possibly, I took my lines too far. Because, ever since that short stint on the pulpit, whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grow up, I always said the same thing: I want to be neurosurgeon. (Technically, the script said missionary doctor but my costume—all-white top and shorts with the caduceus and the title “neurosurgeon” embroidered onto it—said something else, something more specific, something more ambitious.) And, upon answering, I was always greeted with such awe. So I’ve always been impressed that I gave not just the right response but such an awesome answer.
But how many ten-year olds of the 90s knew exactly what a neurosurgeon was?
Maybe it was some time during high school when I changed my answer. I never received the awe that I was used to. And their response to me was something I had to get used to.
Not all of us realize that the answers we’ve been giving weren’t ours, even from the start, no matter how many times we’re asked, no matter how many times we repeat it, no matter if we got the right script, no matter how great the program. Sooner or later, you will say something else. You will tell them the real answer.
That is when you write your own script.