One of my writer friends had posted a question on Facebook: “What did you really want to be when you were growing up?” I flippantly replied: archaeologist, veterinarian, horse trainer, and artist. None of my careers have taken me down those paths. I have been a television journalist – in front of and behind the camera. I write for money—more or less. I am also a teacher—not a career that I would have told you would EVER be on my radar.
However, my response to the question of what I really wanted to be got me thinking. I have done all of these careers. They are part of the everyday fabric of my life.
First of all, let’s look at archaeologist. One look around my house would be enough to show you that I am indeed an archaeologist. Just this morning, I excavated a heating pad from the hinterlands of my office bookshelf. Every time I open the refrigerator…well that’s an archaeological expedition in and of itself. Entering my teenager’s bedroom—need I say more?
Veterinarian, medic…Yup, that’s me. When you have as many animals as we have had over the years, particularly horses which seem especially accident prone, you have to a) be made of money, b) marry a veterinarian, or c) learn to do that stuff yourself. So, here’s a probably incomplete list of my animal medical skills:
· Expert foot bandager – horse and dog
· Expert “bits” cleaner – trust me, you don’t want to know
· Can treat eye wounds
· Worm horses and dogs
· Dock tails
· Remove dew claws
· Give shots – IM and subcutaneously on cats, dogs, and horses
Then of course, there are the human medical needs:
· Tick removal from places you simply don’t want to know
· Road rash cleaner outer
· Butterfly bandages for the “hell no, it doesn’t need stitches” people in my world.
· Applier of splints, ace bandages, and masseuse
· Bandage changer for the “hell no, I don’t need to go to the doctor” people in my world
· 2nd and 3rd degree burn care…see above.
So, yes, I have gained extensive veterinary and human medical experience over the years. My husband, bless him, has spared me experience in the one area I’m not sure I could handle—putting down my favorite horse and my first JRT.
Next, horse trainer. I’ve had horses for going on 30 years now. That doesn’t count when I was a kid. I have fox hunted, evented, and played polocrosse. I have remediated three horses who were petrified of getting on horse trailers. One horse had been in a trailer accident in which the trailer came loose form the tow vehicle (before I owned him). No, nobody paid me, but I ended up with lovely horses over the years who always managed to get the job done for me.
Finally, artist. I don’t paint, unless it’s a wall or a table. I doodle. However, there are other media – I have photographs, sculpture, and of course, my writing because it is also art. Over the years, with my son, there have been homemade Halloween costumes, grease-painted faces, clay and craft projects, and carved and painted pumpkins. This year, I might add watermelon jack-o-lanterns to the mix if our melon patch doesn’t hurry up.
So, no, I might not have studied archaeology or veterinary medicine. I might not be training the next Olympic wonder horse or giving Rembrandt a run for his money. I have, however, enjoyed a very rich, adventuresome life that was never limited by believing I could only do ONE thing when I grow up.