Thursday, June 3

When I Grow Up, I Want to Be...

I thought that by age 30 I'd have life figured out. Or at least I would have figured out what it was that I wanted to do with the rest of my life. When I was little, the first thing I remember wanting to be was a pediatrician because I knew doctors made a lot of money and I knew I liked kids... but really, what 5 year old doesn't like kids? Then my 4th grade teacher inspired me so much that all I wanted to do when I grew up was be a teacher exactly like her. Then I started liking boys and that was the end of wanting to do anything outside of getting married and having kids.

But alas, at almost 30, here I am not married and not having kids wishing that maybe I woulda stuck to some dream of what I wanted to do professionally. Don't get me wrong, I have a great job that I love, just not sure I'd ever choose to do this for the rest of my life.

As it turns out, I'm not the only one who's "undecided" at age 30. I found this list of some pretty famous and successful people who didn't start their pretty famous and successful careers until after reaching the big THREE-OH.

  1. This photo is from four years after Stallone broke through.
    Sylvester Stallone, deli counter attendant. After getting no career traction as an actor in his 20s, Stallone attacked his 30's like any 5'8 man should: He wrote a movie where he was an all-American hero with unbelievable success in sports.

    That movie was "Rocky." He banged out the "Rocky" screenplay in three days, in between working at a deli counter and as a movie theater usher and it launched his career with an Academy Award for Best Picture.

  2. Andrea Bocelli, lawyer. He'd loved music and singing his whole life but didn't really see (no pun intended) it as a career possibility. So, after school, he got a law degree at the University of Pisa. At age 30 he was working as a lawyer and moonlighting in a piano bar for fun and extra cash. He didn't catch a break as a singer until 1992, at age 34.

  3. Martha Stewart, stockbroker. When she was 30, Martha Stewart was a stockbroker, no doubt learning all about finance and the ethics involved therein. Two years later she and her husband purchased a beat-down farmhouse in Connecticut, led the restoration, transitioned into a domestic lifestyle, and parlayed that into her evil, evil career.

  4. Mao Tse-Tung, elementary school principal. At age 30, Mao was involved in communism. He was a young star of the Chinese Communist Party but didn't realize it could be a career. (Probably didn't see communism as being very lucrative?)

    Instead, he was working as the principal of an elementary school. Where, no doubt, hall passes were decadent. Four years later he started a communist group that eventually became the Red Army and put him in power.

  5. International woman of mystery.
    Julia Child, government spy. Absolutely the wrong career. At age 30, Child wasn't cooking she was working for the U.S. government as a spy. She went on clandestine missions to China and Sri Lanka to get intelligence documents to agents in the field. She didn't enter cooking school until age 36.

    How it took until now to make a movie about her life is mind blowing. They made a movie about the life of MC Hammer. They made a sitcom out of the Geico cavemen. I mean someone bought the rights to make a movie out of "Where's Waldo?" You're telling me Waldo's more interesting than female spy-turned-TV cooking superstar? It's "Alias" meets "Top Chef"! Just because Waldo traveled to a bunch of exotic places where he managed to mingle with lots of other people wearing deceptive red-and-white striped shirts doesn't make him movie-worthy.

  6. James Joyce, singing. By 30, Joyce was writing... just not getting published. So to make ends meet he reviewed books, taught and, weirdly, made a lot of money thanks to his gorgeous tenor singing voice.

    Joyce finally got his first book, "Dubliners", published at age 32, which launched his career as, arguably, one of the most successful authors of all time.

  7. Colonel Sanders, tons of blue collar jobs. When yes Harland Sanders was turning 30, he was still switching from one career to another: Steamboat pilot, insurance salesman, farmer, railroad fireman, gigolo. He didn't start cooking chicken until he was 40 and didn't start franchising until age 65.

  8. Michael Jordan as a baseball player.
    Michael Jordan, baseball player. At age 30, Michael Jordan was the biggest star in the world, had just led the Chicago Bulls to three straight NBA championships and promptly quit to become a minor league baseball player.

    This remains one of the most suspicious moves any celebrity has made in our lifetimes. If this happened today, the Internet would actually blow up with people debating the real reason why Jordan quit.

    Anyway, I included this on the list because it shows that even Michael Jordan was still searching for the right career at age 30.

  9. Rodney Dangerfield, aluminum siding salesman. He started doing stand-up at age 19 then gave up on it in his mid-20's. He started working as an acrobatic diver and then as an aluminum siding salesman. He didn't start getting back into comedy until he was 40.

  10. Harrison Ford, carpenter. When Ford was 30, he starred in "American Graffiti"... which was a huge hit. But he got paid a pittance for acting in it, decided he was never going to make it as an actor, and quit the business to get back into the more financially dependable world of construction.

    Four years later, he met up with George Lucas again (for those who don't know, Lucas directed "Graffiti") and Lucas cast him as Han Solo.

  11. Jesus, carpenter. At age 30, Jesus finally stopped doing carpentry and started performing miracles. See, Harrison Ford and Jesus have more in common than you'd think.

This post is dedicated to Jay Evans and all my 30-something friends who live their lives passionately yet who are still searching for their life's passion. And a way to get paid for it.


Bags said...

Life is just starting! Enjoy it.

Sparklebot said...

I just want to dance!