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Who I Could Have Been

What might my profession be if I had a chance to be born in another era?

By Kelsey ClareyPublished 9 months ago 3 min read

What might my profession be if I had a chance to be born in another era?

This should be an easy question for me. I’ve always been a bit of a history nerd, entirely fascinated by the lives of the people who lived before me. Books like Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, Little House on the Prairie, the entire Dear Canada series, and anything by Jane Austen have long been some of my favorites. As a child, I was always dressing up and pretending like I was the protagonist of these books, living out their lives decades or centuries before I was ever born.

With all of these touchstones in mind, I can think of a few different answers to this question.

Perhaps I would have been a teacher, either in a larger high school or a country one-room school house. It could fit, as it would be following in my dad's and great-grandmother's footsteps. I don’t know if I would have had the heart for the old-school styles of discipline though, and tending to kids of all ages seems like a daunting task. And what’s that old joke about walking uphill through snowdrifts both ways? Yeah, I had to do something similar enough times when I was in school, I don’t think I’d want to do it every day all winter.

I could have been a nurse or a midwife, but I’m not sure that would exactly suit me either. Besides the same issues of having to walk through all sorts of weather if I were the sort that had to make house calls, I’m pretty squeamish. I don’t handle blood or injuries well. I also don’t think my heart would be able to handle losing patients or seeing the sort of misery that nurses have to be accustomed to.

The most likely scenario is that I would have been a housewife, much like many of the older women in my family were at one point or another. This might suit me better than some of the other options. I’ve always been something of a domestic homebody. Cooking isn’t my favorite thing, but I can manage it. I love to bake and knit and sew, I love to take care of animals, and I love to be around children. Certain aspects of that sort of life appeal to me, but I think it might also wear on me a bit after a while. I don’t coop up well all of the time and being stuck around the house with very few moments to myself seems daunting and exhausting. While there are many parts of this profession I am well suited to, I think I’d still need a bit more in life to keep me from ending up miserable.

Or…perhaps I’d have been a writer, like Jo and Anne. Or, if we step back into the real world, like Louisa and Lucy and Jane. Like the Bronte Sisters. Like George. Carving out time to put stories and poems to paper, defying anyone who ever says I can’t (even if that anyone happens to include myself). Sitting at a desk after night has fallen with a notebook, inkpot, and pen laid out before me. Writing, re-writing, submitting, and then re-writing again when those submissions come back. Pressing on through a series of disappointments because I know I have stories to tell and a voice that deserves to be heard.

Oh, wait. Isn’t that what I’m doing now? Complete with my fountain pen that looks like a quill and my preference for handwriting first drafts?


I guess some things are simply timeless.

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About the Creator

Kelsey Clarey

She/Her/Fae/Faer. I live in Nova Scotia, Canada. I mostly write poetry and flash fiction currently, a lot of it fantasy/folklore/fairy tale inspired. I also like to do a lot of fiber arts and design TTRPGs.


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