Lately I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about how to bring more fulfillment and sense of purpose to my work life. Invariably books on these sorts of topics ask the reader to think back to their earliest childhood career dreams as a way of rekindling a sense of possibility and wonder, if not an actual answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
In my case the answer was: bag lady.
I must’ve been four or five when I encountered my first homeless person. At the time I didn’t have much sense of social class, poverty, or issues like that. What I saw was a woman pushing a shopping cart filled with what appeared to me to be a lot of useful stuff and some pretty mysterious treasures as well. She didn’t seem in any hurry. She wasn’t dressed up in a terrible skirt and pinchy shoes. She had a marble in her hand and a grin on her face. I thought she was marvelously free and I wanted to be just like her.