by Dr. Oakleigh Thorne, II
Do you know what we mean by “career?” It is usually what you do when you grow up to make a living, like being a doctor, teacher, engineer, plumber, electrician, fireman, policeman, or bus driver. You can see that there are many kinds of careers.
I met an amazing woman at the World Wilderness Conference in Estes Park back in 1987. Her name was Anna Miller-Tiederman and she and her husband, had been good friends with a famous man named Buckminster Fuller, one of the great future thinkers. Anna was the founder of a nonprofit organization called the Lifecareer Foundation. She had spent many years as a high school counselor, but after meeting Fuller and thinking about her life’s work, she decided that her life was her career. So she started her foundation to spread the word. She told me that she was in her career at all times. She was in her career talking to me right then, and I was in my career talking to her. That made good sense to me.
I used to meet students who were finishing college and were upset because they didn’t know what career to choose. Since meeting Anna, I tell these young people not to worry. Their life is their career. They usually say, “Wow! I never thought of it that way!” I explain to them that their life is a wonderful journey, so enjoy it. Don’t get “hung up” on what your job might be someday.
What about your life? Do you ever dream that one day you might be a great teacher, astronaut, doctor, artist, or president? Even at eight years old, I’ll bet you think about what you might grow up to be. It’s fun to dream about all the things you could do. That’s OK! It’s how you discover what your real interests are. It’s important to have interests and hobbies, and to develop talents. That’s how you “grow” as a person.
But it’s most important to have dreams. For example, if one of your dreams is to be a great musician, you will take steps, little by little, in that direction. You will practice and get better and better at what you do. Know that your dreams take you in the direction that you want to go in your life. They are like your guide. They help you to work hard, stay focused, and learn as much as you can along the way.
Remember that when you are born you are the only one of your kind in the world (unless you are an identical twin). Isn’t that amazing? No one else looks like you. That’s how your family and friends know that it’s you. As you live and grow, all the experiences you have are yours to keep in your own way. Nobody else has had the same exact experiences in the same order as you have. So each day of your life you become more and more unique and special. Pat yourself on the back and say, “I am special!” Isn’t that a good feeling?
I’ve shared my philosophy with you and hope that it will be helpful. My advice to you is, “It’s your life; go for it!”
Dr. Thorne is founder and honorary president of Thorne Ecological Institute in Boulder. They have helped “connect kids to nature” for more than 55 years. For more information about Thorne Natural Science School classes for children, check www.thornenature.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (303) 499-3647.