Today we pause to remember and celebrate the ongoing American tradition that made our country great–intense dedication and hard work brought us from an industrializing nation to what we are today–a place where dreams for a brighter future can be achieved.
Labor Day, an annual celebration of workers and their achievements, originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters. In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories, and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages. People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities, and breaks (History Channel).
Fortunately, things changed, laws were enacted to protect children and workers. Which gave birth to that great American childhood most of us have enjoyed–the time to learn and dream of what we wanted to be when we grew up.
As a child I fantasized about three very distinct careers. The first–a jockey, which my mother hesitantly embraced by setting up riding lessons for me with a friend. After a scary buck and fall involving a large barking dog and a hammock (don’t ask), that career choice slipped away.
Next came the cat specialist phase which started with an extensive library of encyclopedias and medical books. I used to copy pages and pages of these texts, add my own illustrations, then gift them to my parents. This career choice soon faded, which left me with my last and most enduring desire.
I wanted to be a writer…
It started with poetry and short stories that circulated around school with comment sheets attached to the back of every folder. Then I graduated to song writer, even joined a couple bands as a singer where we preformed cover songs and some originals. I hit the club scene as a DJ, attended college, enjoyed a ten year tenure as an environmental scientist, and traveled.
Little did I know all these experiences, some successful, some failures, were prepping me for my future as a writer. In 2013 I received my first publishing contract and haven’t looked back or regretted anything.
Please share your “Labor of Love”, what were your childhood ambitions?