What do you want to be when you grow up?
I can't even remember the first time I was asked that question. I know I can't remember it, because my mom wrote about it in my baby book. I was clearly pretty young, but she asked me about it, because I guess that's what you do to your kids as a way to figure out exactly how grown up they already are. Sort of a mental calibration similar in concept to marking off their growth progress on the wall with little tick marks.
"Walk? Check. Toilet trained? Check. Tie shoes? Check. Knows what they want to be when they grow up? Hmm... okay, still working on that one."
My father was a fireman. He's retired now, but I remember him coming home from his 24-hour shifts, looking so much more exhausted than I thought I'd ever be personally capable. He was always (and remains) my own personal superhero, and he was a fireman for many years. It was his job. It became his career.
It was a wildly different world, then - after your education, you eventually found your way into a job, which you often pursued until the day you retired. Many people had that one job for a lifetime. Me, I've had several jobs - two of which have lasted nine and 12 years, respectively. Writing, on the other hand, has been something I've pursued since I was much, much younger. Well back before I even realized people would actually pay you to write down your stories.
I'd thought back then it was going to be comic books - and perhaps someday it still could be. But I've told stories in a variety of mediums - music, acting, drawing and so on. But writing, well, it just stuck. Sometimes, that's just how it works, I suppose.
All the same, I don't feel so much like I've grown up as much as I've just grown. I'm older, but still learning, still figuring these things out, still a bit impatient, still somehow managing to find silver linings in every cloud. And I'm all right with that. It's an adventure, this life of ours. Might as well spend every available moment soaking it in.
Oh, and in case you were wondering what I told my mother when she asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, it's simple.
I wanted to be Spider Man.