I like Morgan Freeman. While I may not agree with everything he says, I find him to be an interesting man and a fabulous actor. So it was no surprise that I watched The Biography Channel’s bio of him the other night. Twice. And it gave me hope.
Did you know that, at the age of 40, Morgan Freeman was named Broadway’s Best Male Newcomer? At 50, he was nominated for an Academy Award. At 52, he earned his first leading role in a major feature film (Lean On Me). At 67, he was awarded the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. At 72, Freeman played Nelson Mandela, a role that he says was a “forgone conclusion”, because Mandela had said that when a movie was made about his life, he should be played by Morgan Freeman.
Near the conclusion of the biopic, Freeman tells the interviewer “I think you don’t have life if you don’t have a dream. If you have something to aim for, put it before you. Put it on the medicine cabinet or the refrigerator door, so that every time you go to the refrigerator, you are reminded ‘This is what I want.‘ You’re gonna get it, guaranteed.”
When I was about 5 or 6, my grandmother asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. “A truck driver” I told her. “A truck driver? Like the kind that bring packages or deliver bread to stores?” “No Mama, a truck driver. You know, an 18-wheeler driver.” “Oh. Well darling, if that’s what makes you happy, go for it.”
I did not become a truck driver.
Over the years, the truck driver was replaced by a slew of possible occupations – teacher, lawyer, actress, priest (yes Mom, briefly), and librarian to name a few. I’ve taken dozens of “occupational assessment” tests, taken classes in different fields, read a lot, and tried a few things. I’ve made lists of the things I like to do and the things I’m interested in. I’ve looked to my friends and family to see what they do.
But I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
So it heartened me that Morgan Freeman was considered a newcomer at 40. Of course, at age 9, he was the lead in his first school play. I am getting closer to 40 every day, and I still have not found the occupational dream to post on my refrigerator door.
Do you think you can know who you are, even if you don’t know what you want to be? Or does knowing what you want to be make you, in part, who you are?
I continue to search. And that counts as chasing the dream, right?