My very first career - decided upon as of 8 years old - was to be a paleontologist.
I loved dinosaurs. I had a fairly large collection of them that I would arrange on my fabulous cave playset (purchased from Sears and Roebuck) in various poses and forms - the old style ones that had only plastic colors (blue stegosauri, brown T. Rexs). I had almost all the dinosaur models from Aurora. I had several books that I read and re-read. I wrote stories about them, developed narratives for them as they marched across the plastic sheet with ponds and trees and up over the plastic cliffs.
Frankly, I am not quite sure which this career field fell out of favor. I want to say it was by the time I entered high school for reasons I cannot fully appreciate - after all, it is not like I ever came up with a better career path (to this day). Perhaps I just got bored with them and moved on to other things - now that I think about it, this was about the time that Role Playing Games entered my consciousness. Somehow in the longer run, I wonder if this was the better choice.
Would I have been happy with a life as a paleontologist? Oh, probably not. The career field is pretty limited and it involves either a lot of begging for funding or working for low wages. But if I think about it there is plenty that I might have like as well: doing something I found engaging, traveling to desolate places and spending weeks away from .
I still have my original dinosaurs tucked away in a box - they have served me and served my children and hopefully will someday serve my grandchildren. I am sure that now they have some small monetary value (simply from the virtue of being old) but I will probably never part with them - not just from the fact that they have nostalgic value but for the fact that in some small way, they started me down the path of imagination and learning that I have continued with to this day.