Coulda’ Shoulda’ Woulda’


What was the first thing you ever wanted to be? What I mean is, what was the first future-occupation you can ever remember choosing when you were a kid? Are you one of those extremely driven people who always knew what you wanted to be right from the start and that’s what you actually ended up doing? Or are you more like me and have imagined a myriad of professions and finally ended up falling into an occupation that you didn’t exactly choose but kind of chose you? I once wanted to throw a party where everybody came in costume – the theme being, the first job you ever wanted. But I didn’t go through with it as I imagined the room would be filled with people wearing white coats of one description or another. And me? Well I’ve always been a bit of a Jack of all trades, master of none. Seriously though, master of none.

The Artist:

This was most definitely the first thing I considered doing with my life. I was always fairly adept at drawing pictures; all Archer’s are. It’s innate. And as a young child, I first thought I might turn my hand to this in later life because on a daily basis, kids at school would ask me to draw their pictures for them. I never understood this. Why on earth would you want my picture in your exercise book? What sense of personal achievement could you possibly gain from seeing a drawing penned by me and not by you? Anyway, very rarely did I submit to these requests. And I didn’t turn out to be an artist either. I got an E for art in my GCSE’s – you heard me right, an E. And after that disastrous result, I certainly didn’t pursue art any further. I guess, like most things in my life, I was good but just not good enough.

The Actress:

Not to blow my own trumpet (although I’m going to), I was a pretty good little actress too. I would try-out for every school play and thrust my hand in the air whenever the English teacher needed somebody to read for a character in any given play we were reading. When I was about nineteen or twenty, I actually went for an audition to get a place at Drama School. Well, that was a mistake. What an horrifically humiliating experience – and to cut to the chase, I didn’t make the grade. I think mainly because I couldn’t sing like Maria Callas like most of the other hopefuls could. But in hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t get in. No, really. I’d be just another penniless actress looking for the next bit-part whilst waiting tables right at this moment. I’d probably have exhausted all the extras parts on ‘Casualty’ and ‘The Bill’. Again, I was close (ish) – but no cigar. Well, to be honest, I wasn’t even close. But we do have a nearby amateur dramatics group and I often toy with the idea of joining. They put on two plays a year – but the thought of twice-weekly rehearsals on top of work and kids is a bit too much to stomach so I never do get around to auditioning. I don’t know, maybe when I’m retired? I can star in Cocoon III.

The Singer:

You’re probably starting to see a pattern here. My interests and talents have only ever included the arts (so you aren’t going to be seeing Nuclear Scientist or Neurosurgeon below. You’re surprised, I know). Now I may not be able to sing like Maria Callas, but I can hold a tune. From an early age, I used to write my own songs with the aid of my trusty Bontempi keyboard. In my late teens and early twenties, I was in bands (recording studios mainly, never live gigging for some reason). But I never truly enjoyed being a singer. Singing the same song over and over again until you got it right just didn’t do it for me. And that lovely soulful voice I heard inside my head, oddly, could never be heard when played back on a recording; I just can’t stand the sound of my own voice. John Lennon used to feel the exact same way (did she just compare herself to John Lennon..? Yes, yes I think she did…). And I just don’t think I’m enough of an extrovert to be up on stage professionally. But if you said I could be a songwriter and work behind the scenes, I’d be much happier with that. But you didn’t say that. So that isn’t happening either. Wonderful.

The Policewoman:

I don’t know why I thought I’d make good policewoman but I applied to the London Metropolitan Police once. I think I liked the idea of solving crimes (I’d probably been watching a bit too much ‘Inspector Morse’ at the time). Anyway, suffice to say, I didn’t get in (that happens a lot to me, doesn’t it?). I didn’t even get an interview and nobody ever said why. And I never asked. I blamed it on my short stature – at the time the height restrictions were still in place but whether that was the decision for not choosing me, I’ll never know. I’m glad really; my dreams of being an Inspector would have been dashed when I found myself in uniform on ‘the beat’. And to be honest, I’m just not that brave. I’ve always had a healthy desire to save my own skin. I don’t think dealing with the criminal underclass would have really suited somebody as cowardly as me who’d rather sit on her sofa and write or read about it. So no regrets there.

The Nurse:

Well, this is what I ended up doing for for-realsies. And nursing was never precisely a dream of mine. I did have a nurse’s play-uniform as a kid which I liked as much as the next child, but I never fantasized about working in a hospital. I was never a fan of ‘Casualty’ or ‘Holby City’ or ‘ER’ (in fact, I cannot tolerate any medical-based drama at all these days, it’s like a busman’s holiday and I do hate talking shop). Did I like the high-pressure situations and having people’s lives in my hands? No, not really. This was the job I kind of ‘fell into’ (post being turned down by the filth). But although it drives me nuts half the time, I care deeply for the welfare of the NHS and nursing itself has been good to me; with a trade like that, you’ll never starve.

The Writer:

So lastly but not least…ly; the author. Obvs. This is the one profession I have wanted to do almost from day zero, have dabbled in since childhood and I still have a deep love for. I remember writing silly books at school with characters that were a mixture of school teachers, classmates and famous people (and handing them around class for other kids to read. God, what a loser I was *cringe*…). So, am I a writer? Well, I wouldn’t put it down as my profession on my passport application form, that’s for sure, because this is not how I earn my living. And yet I am a writer – of sorts. I have published a book (although any idiot can do that) and I do write a blog that real people, friends and complete strangers alike, read on a (more or less) weekly basis. The things I write are no longer hidden away on a laptop unseen by human eyes and I couldn’t say that a year ago. Okay, it only earns me pocket-money really (not even pocket-money as my eldest daughter wouldn’t get out of bed for that little), but I still do it. And I think I always will to some lesser or greater degree.

So what about you? Did you wind up doing something you always dreamed of? Or do you do something you never imagined as a child but simply love it? Or do you linger on in a mundane profession you fell into but still dream of that one thing that alluded you? Are you still working on making that dream a reality? You know me; I’m a glass-is-half-empty kind of person; I’m not the kind of girl who will bombard you with inspirational, cutesy memes that will make you want to turn your life around when I can be wittily pessimistic instead. That’s just not how I roll. But I do suggest you never give up on that dream; no matter how old you are. You may never make your fortune, you may never be a household name, but if it’s something you love and gives you enjoyment, nobody can really take that away from you. Other than, well…you.

 (I don’t.)

26 thoughts on “Coulda’ Shoulda’ Woulda’

  1. Great and very interesting post :). I am one of the ‘Jack of all … of none’ kind as well. At some point or other I have wanted to be a Cricketer, Sprinter (for about 4 seconds), Engineer, Mathematician, Statician, Teacher, Writer, Entrepreneur and I even I don’t know now what I may end up being.. Let’s see. (I even wanted to be wrestler/Boxer at a point, it was no more than an afterthought).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always look forward to your posts Adele and have particularly enjoyed this one.

    When very young I wanted to breed dogs, make chutney and live in a little cottage complete with log fire and roses over the door. As I got older I realised this wasn’t really a career option and so decided I wanted to be a nurse, a phobia of needles and blood soon put paid to that. I thought then about Occupational Therapy or Psychologist and teacher.

    A few false turns along the way and I got a job as a trainee careers adviser, 16 years later I’m still doing it. No one dreams about becoming a careers adviser as a child but I love it. I get to work with amazing young people and am privileged to help and hopefully inspire them.

    People used to talk about your “career path” but these days a persons career journey often takes the form of crazy paving and one moves from job to job picking up skills along the way. Some times these moves and choices are planned and sometimes they come about more by chance as opportunities arise (the theory behind this is called Planned Happenstance, great title eh?) so its a matter of making yourself open to possibilities, which it sounds like is what led you into nursing. I think it’s fascinating to hear how people end up doing different job roles, so thanks for this post.

    OK, soap box moment over. Sorry for hijacking your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved this blog. You are not alone sister. I’ve always live my life sideways, best way of avoiding what lies ahead (platter). Moloko sand ‘dreamers, only believers in their sleep.’ which is probably why I like spending so much time in bed (minds out of the gutter).
    I remember being 5 or 6 and saying to my older sister that I wanted to be a health services researcher, and she, being wiser, imparted her wisdom, ‘get a life dicksplash!’ Moral: Always listen to yer older sister.
    Keep up the blog and writing and singing and dressing up as a nurse (okay, that sounds dodgy) because you are incredibly talented.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love your hair – and am very jealous! Very much like my mum’s hair, which my brother inherited and I didn’t :(!
    Love reading your post as usual, and you have a knack of encouraging some really interesting comments too :), It sounds as though, in a different universe, your talent could have taken you in lots of different ways.

    When I was really young I wanted to be a jazz singer. Since I have no musical talent whatsoever, and have a terrible voice, this was a definite non-starter. By the time I got to about ten or eleven, I wanted to be a test pilot. Thankfully my eyesight and general physical capabilities ruled that out as well – knowing what I know now, I am glad I’ve never been allowed to be in charge of anything fast and heavy! 🙂

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  5. Hahaha!

    God, it’s fun to read your stuff, Adele “The Adaptor” Archer. Technically, given your self-deprivation (?) assertions of NOT being a good fit for the aforementioned professions, I suppose I shoulda, coulda, woulda dubbed you “The Non-Adaptor”. But I was shooting for alliteration (and maybe not so cleverly, as it turns out. Hmm.).

    Well, I kinda fit into both categories you described. Half and half. I always know what I wanted –NEEDED — to be. But life happened. Or, more accurately, MY life happened. And I eventually ” fell ” into the second group. I won’t go into exhaustive detail of all the myriad occupations I’ve explored (I think that’s an apt word) because, after reading this blog, I’m suddenly motivated to write my own variation out it. And yes, when I publish it in my upcoming blog site, I’ll give you full credit as the inspiration for that perhaps bizarre exposition.

    Understanding where your various paths have currently taken you, my friend, I still think you should maybe consider trying out again for one or several of your post aspirations! Painter, actress, song writer perhaps. Or maybe screenplay writer. Hey! You’re such a lovely, fantastic artist in soul. It might be that authoring books and blogs are simply (logically) what you’ve invested most of your time and energy in — at least lately — and therefore have realized the greatest success. By all means though, PLEASE keep writing, Adele! I’m falling deeper in love with your posts with each reading. And yes, add of this moment, I’m in the midst of reading your book which I’m enjoying greatly.

    Now, on an agreeably humorous note, I don’t know if I’d advise you being a cop. Not for lack of faith in your prowess in wielding a billy club but simply because, given your previously cited, infamous temper, I fear you might eventually succumb to the temptation to crack the skull of some poor bloke who may cross you on a less than stellar day. Hehe. Although, and I say this with the greatest of respect to you and your hubby, I’m sure you’d look kick-ass in uniform!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post Adele.

    I’d have to say the earliest thought about having a full-time job was when I was six. Watching a documentary about the making of the original Star Wars around 1977/78, and saw these master model makers creating all these wonderful models. Then they fitted small explosives inside them and blew them up for the camera. “I want to do that for a living,” six year old me thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great read! This post definitely got me thinking! I noticed your ambitions were pretty much centered around the arts (artist, actress, singer, writer). I too wanted to be an actor at a certain point, or even a TV or radio show host. I ended up following a different path however, and never really followed my dreams. Of course like all children I also wanted to be a policeman, a fireman or a superhero! But same thing with those, I didn’t follow the dream! But like you say, it’s never too late! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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