A cursory read-through of my high school diaries reveals that I dreamed of becoming a political speech writer, a novelist, a poet, an ad copywriter, a parent, and, of course, a millionaire. I assumed that, no matter which path I chose, I would make more money than I’d know what to do with.

By college, I was more realistic. As an English major and, later, as a graduate student in creative writing, I knew that fame and fortune weren’t likely. But I still assumed that I would eventually find a concrete representation of my imaginary ideal: a full-time writing gig with unlimited upward mobility that would keep me employed for the rest of my life. Everything else (money, lifestyle, parenthood) would fall into place.

Now that I’m nearing 30 and have a son, I realize that my conception of a dream job was, well, a misconception.

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