When I Was Ten

Age 10 is a developmental sweet spot. You’re old enough to know what lights you up, yet not so old that adults have extinguished that fire by dumping more practical and “realistic” options on it.

Here’s Why Living Out Your Dreams from When You Were 10 Is the Key to Happiness (Reader’s Digest)


When I was ten, I loved drawing houses and I wanted to be an architect. I clearly remember, however, the two events that changed my career path and I often wondered if things would be different if they didn’t happen.

1: It was the job-shadowing day in junior high and I got hooked up with an architect. It was kind of boring, but he was a commercial architect and I knew I was going to design houses—that’s until I met a drafter in the office and he looked me in the eyes and said, “don’t do this”. Yikes!

As scary as that was to hear, I stuck with my dream and took a Communications Technology class in high school. I had a ton of fun and even won the class award! This was 1995, a pre-computer era that included film photography (not digital!) and drafting with a ruler and pencil.

It turned out that drafting IS fun, and I was actually good at it! I spent a whole semester painstakingly designing blueprints for a house and was told by my teacher, Mr Vacheresse, that I had an excellent perception of measurement! Life was looking up and architecture was back on the drawing table.

2. That’s until grade 12 when the guidance counsellor told me math was not my strength. Architecture is all math, so perhaps I should reconsider my career path.


Now, as a “self-employed, stay-at-home, freelance designer”, I feel like I let my ten-year-old self down. Would I have become an architect if I listened to the kind encouragements from Mr Vacheresse instead of the guidance councillor? I am not sure being an architect was the right calling but as I enter my midlife season, it has certainly had me wondering what the heck I am doing and more importantly what should/could I be doing?

Last fall on a girl’s weekend away, Sarah asked “If there was a job that’d you think you’d be really good at, what would it be” *Note* She didn’t ask, what do you want to do. This question has not left my mind since, and I don’t have an answer but, this is what I know:

  • I am not great at drawing
  • I do have an excellent perception of measurement
  • Print never died even though I was told it would many times
  • Love thy work people, love thy work
  • I can make a space look good
  • I still suck at math
  • Don’t listen to grumpy men
  • High school guidance counsellors are not know-it-alls
  • I’d be an excellent personal assistant
  • I would rather do layout design than create a logo
  • I love big cities but love the ocean more
  • I have slight envy towards the postal workers who get paid to walk
  • My preferred position is standing next to the person in the spotlight
  • I like writing and photography and wish I was stronger at both
  • I wish my job allowed me to be outside
  • I’d rather be volunteering

How about you, what did you want to be at age ten? And, if I haven’t already asked you, “If there was a job that’d you think you’d be really good at, what would it be”?

I want to know!


As I write this, it’s not lost on me that my child is ten. I asked what he wants to be when he grows up and he said a mechanical engineer that works on cars, outside. Yikes, that’s a lot of math… but I am not saying anything!

Age 10-11 (Erica, Melissa, Maria, Me, Sarah)

4 thoughts on “When I Was Ten

  1. When I was 10, I wanted to ride the whales at Seaworld. I’ve since seen Blackfish and realize that wouldn’t have been a great career choice. I still wonder if I did my 10 year old self a disservice by not sticking with Animal Science though- it’s pretty cool. I think I’d be good at it. Otherwise, I think I’d be good at being a detective.


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