When I grow up...

Hotel Amalia, Thessaloniki

What do you want to be when you grow up?

It is a question that many of us are asked from an early age. I recall it being something that we talked about in grade primary, and it just seems to become more pervasive the further along in school you get. What I don’t remember is what my answer was in those early years. My parents might know and I may have written it in a scribbler that my mom would likely have kept. (As a humourous aside, it likely wasn’t like this comic:

Comic strip Source

I do know that at the time I didn’t fall into the category of those who wanted to be a fireman, favouring the more academic pursuits even at a young age. I know that at one point circa grade six, I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer. I fell in love with airplanes and being the type of kid who was prone to read the encyclopedia for fun, I started doing research. But after a year or two my interests changed. By this point I was pretty handy with a computer and was zipping around DOS creating batch files to do all sorts of things, tinkering with QBasic and other geeky chores. Bearing in mind that this was before the time when computers were really all that useful to most people – the days when Alt-F-S, Alt-F-X was king.

But then I found the internet, or Internet as it was then – the Information Super Highway. It didn’t take me long to latch onto that bandwagon with every ounce of my strength and every waking moment of my day. Learning, reading, programming. Wow, this was it. This was the one. High school was a means to an end. An end where I was programming for more than the sheer excitement of it all. Starting a business in grade nine creating web sites for local businesses didn’t hurt my interest in this, it was all quite exciting.

What did I want to be when I grew up? I wanted to be a programmer. Or was it a software engineer? Maybe a web designer? Well whatever it was, I knew that a computer science degree was the right choice. And just to make sure, that is definitely a decision I still firmly believe in. I feel I made the right choices concerning my life. At least for the choices that mattered in the long run.

And so now I’m sitting at the foot of my bed in Hotel Amalia in Thessaloniki, Greece. The last night in a hotel I’ve been in for 25+ days, in a city that I didn’t even know existed a year ago. Thirteen months ago I was uncertain about my future, but the given was that I would be in Canada doing something. Exactly one year ago I was in the starting phase of my Masters at Dalhousie University. Tonight at dinner, Daniel and Q and I were talking about what country in Europe we’d most like to live in. What languages we wanted to learn. I no longer feel comfortable making any claims on what my future holds. I don’t know what I want to be at the end of all this, but I do have faith that I am heading in the proper direction.