Had someone asked me about my future plans at this age (6 or so) and place (my uncle’s farm in Grand Forks, BC), I would likely have said, “I dunno.” If pressed, I’d have answered, “A cowboy” even though I was afraid of horses and didn’t really know how a cowboy spent his time besides wearing chaps, firing a gun, and riding around on the range while wearing a cool hat. Within months, my answer would have broadened to include a spy, an archeologist, an explorer, and a hobo (that last occupation was hazy in my mind, but I figured it involved wandering freely through the countryside, eating around campfires, and catching rides in boxcars).
At age 9, and at the beginning of my father’s second marriage (of three), my mind began to race with career schemes that were exotic, although both improbable (an assassin, a burglar, a jewel thief, etc) and fantastical (a fashion designer). A couple of years later, the shift was towards the practical (a dentist), which in retrospect was equally far-fetched.
Because I was an exceptionally shy and stubborn child, my parents allowed me to read in solitude when the family socialized with friends and relatives. I’d carry a book with me, find a quiet corner, turn my back to everyone, and immerse myself in whatever story struck my fancy.
As a method of overcoming shyness, voracious reading was not at all effective.
But as a early indicator that I might end up in a career which entails reading and writing and talking about books, this childhood behaviour seems a wildly accurate prediction.