When I was small, I didn’t have any idea what I wanted to grow up to be. Still, I like it that other children always knew they were going to become vets or astronauts or racing drivers. But I didn’t want to be anything — if I couldn’t be a wizard or a superhero — and I didn’t care about growing up or having a plan.
What I want, and what I couldn’t have put into words then, has more to do with the external world than with my own future. I want my surroundings — the buildings, the people, the places — to be good, excellent even. I want things to look, sound and taste good; to progress, function and perform well. As a child, I didn’t understand why, when there was a choice between doing a good job and a bad job, the lesser option so frequently won the day.
I notice this a lot in writing, which is everywhere. I suppose that I’m compelled to make writing better, and working in the craft of copy-editing lets me introduce a little bit more professionalism and quality into my world.
While I register the paramount importance of following one’s passion, it’s not something I’ve applied meaningfully to myself. I’m a happy consumer of other people’s work, music, food, culture, whatever, and I don’t think in terms of making my mark on the world.
The child within me didn’t either, but he did think things should be more special than they were. I agree with that little boy: I’d like the world to be as good as it can be.