An Introspective View Of My Future.
The Age-Old Question, What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?
You have been asked This question at some point in your life and so has everybody else. Many variations of This questions have been “asked” during different stages of your life.
In Elementary School, you were probably enthralled by the idea of being an astronaut, walking on the moon, looking at Earth and thinking which of the lights you see are your friends and family. In Middle School, the idea of astronaut seemed a bit less realistic, so you cherish that mental image and forget about it, the idea of money seems too important at that point in time so you dream of being a celebrity (Actor, Musician, Author or Professional Athlete). However, when you get to High School, you discover that money isn’t that important, and it was never your goal, it was a mere symptom of your Dream. So you want to become an engineer, a doctor or even a scientist, to benefit the world and make a difference (and make money).
Right now you’re probably thinking, this story is going to turn inspirational and at the end you will be inspired. “Make your dreams become reality!”, he shouted, flabbergasted by the number of Mozarts, Daniel Day Lewis’, Spielbergs and Kings that have given up on becoming Musicians, Actors, Directors and Writers for the safety and comfort of a steady stable, and admittedly frustrating, job as a Civil Engineer. *Audible Gasp* . Alas, your deduction is wrong, this is a story of reflection prompted by a thread I saw on Facebook started by a friend of mine.
His Question was “What is the ideal career and social standing you want to have when you are in your 40s?”.
And I didn’t know what to say.
To discover my answer, I should start by giving myself a bit of a backstory. As a kid, I was never enthralled by the idea of being an astronaut, it was one of those things that I knew I only wanted to do in my dreams. Being an astronaut was in the same category as being a spy, or a pilot, in short, they were daydreams, thoughts I had to liven up my day. “I’m a spy” he heard, “Focus and take mental notes, because you’re going to have to report everything you’ve seen”. What always caught my imagination was the exact thing that You are probably reading this on, the computer. Sure, I had my hobbies, most prominently reading, but the computer was an infinite box of mysteries that I could always depend on to satisfy my imagination and curiosity.
One of my first memories of using my Genie was playing a Blue’s Clues Game. For the uninitiated, Blue’s Clues was a Nickelodeon show featuring a blue dog called Blue (1996 creativity ladies and gentlemen), who sent the audience and the host on a goose chase and educate the children. Nevertheless, I loved that show, along with most of Nickelodeon’s 90s line-up, and I owned a few of the tie-in games. On the weekends, I would usually wake up early and, having learnt how to insert a CD into “the machine” (It was mind blowing and pretty challenging when I was 5), load up a game and play it. After a few too many weekends of playing the same games, my imagination kicked into gear, “Why not try to put them both into the drive at the same time”, a voice told me, “I am 100% sure it will give you a third game. And I can guarantee that it will be the best game ever”. Well, needless to say that didn’t go well, and I broke one of the CDs too. But Something clicked on that day. That voice I heard got a taste of creation and became obsessed with it.
Back to That dreadful Question again, my Answer will come in time, but for now, we’ll discuss some of the answers.
Some of them were obviously jokes, we wouldn’t be 20 if we didn’t crack a joke at our expense, and some were plain breathtaking. Short stories, recounting more than in this one, that laid out their aspirations, dreams and ambitions for the next two decades. Some wanting to revolutionize their fields in Egypt, some wanting to publish books and poems, but all inspiring me to write this self-analysis and somewhere along the way tap into that voice that I’ve misplaced a while ago in search of my dreams. “A road warrior searching for a righteous cause”, he hoped.
My mind was pretty much taken over by computers, programming and the internet (I did sports too…). Learnt a handful of programming languages and forgot them as quickly, basically obsessing over the hows and whys of computers. Steve Jobs became my idol and Apple became the way to go. Safe to say that didn’t last long, and I saw the light at the end of the tunnel (turns out it was only a spotlight, the tunnel goes on.). I started disassembling computers and trying to figure out what each part did, never bothering with reassembling them when I was done. “You Have to keep going”, the whisper spoke, “No time to lose. Screw Assembling”.
During that time of excitement and discovery, (is there ever a time when discovery is not exciting?), I became fascinated with films. Boy was I obsessed, I was taken by Hitchcock, by Kurosawa, by Hitchcock, by Scorsese, by Spielberg, by Tarantino and by Wells, and I can go on and on. I can keep lecturing you about films, directors and cinematography (that cinematography in Blade Runner 2049…) but I think you got my point. “I know what’s real.” the voices called, “I know what’s real.”
Moving away from the incredible work Roger Deakins did and going back to The Question. So we started off with an obsession with computers and then moved on with an obsession with cinema, so one of the few common elements here are that I get obsessions, but the other one is that they’re both fields that require you to be working with technology and imagination. In cinema, the roles are distinct, a cinematographer has his camera, a director has his vision, a writer with his story. Combining them (with the craft of the artist and the help of the crew) you get what you see on Netflix when you’re procrastinating and watching that new edgy indie. Programming, in my very humble opinion, is not much different. A programmer has his computer, a downgrade from a camera, his vision and his story, both of which can be his or shared by a team (hey! exactly like film making).
I once heard a director describe film making as a disease, as much as that is an apt analogy, I think that all obsessions can be described as such, a more appropriate description would be that film is an alternate universe that artists tap into and shows the rest of us mortals a glimpse of greatness. Another common element with programming (No I’m not grasping at straws. I think…). They both give us a taste of something mortals can’t attain, be it a brilliant film, the Godfather for example, or a revolutionary technology, Facebook, both came from the imagination of artists. “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination” the voices sung.
To answer The big Question, I had to put you through what amounts to my life (minus the teen angst, heartbreaks and obvious disappointments), but I think this was more for my benefit that yours. Yet we made it though, You and Me, Me and You, and as promised, here is my answer. By the time I’m 40, I would like to be able to combine my obsessions and further both of the fields I am (unhealthily might I add) captivated by. Answers for the Hows and the Whens will come in time, but for now I have told you enough to feed your insatiable desire to know everything about my life. “Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?” the voices pondered.