When I was little, I had great dreams of what I wanted to do when I grew up.
The first was a writer. I had such a vivid imagination when I was little. In primary school teachers commended me for my creativity, english and writing skills (not so much the grammar). This died in high school, was suffocated at University, came back when I travelled, died when I came home, and came back when I travelled again! It was like a vicious circle I could not escape.
The second was a dancer. I studied jazz ballet and sat for (or danced for) exams in front of panels of dance instructors. Harrowing. I dabbled in tap, tried classical ballet, I even have memories of trying Scottish and russian dancing just like the Cossacks!. I loved to make up dance shows and perform them for my Mum. My favourite was the one I choreographed to ‘Manic Monday‘ by The Bangles. Little did I know that it wasn’t the dance that I would pursue, but the manic mondays.
The third was a journalist. I thought I could help people and the world through my writing, but lost faith in the field due to the increase in shoddy journalism on in the mainstream media, and the willingness of the masses to believe things so easily without challenging what was being presented to them. Perhaps I should have used this to drive me forward, but my completion of a journalism course at University brought forward in me a real lack of confidence, and I just thought I wasn’t good enough.
The fourth was a lawyer. I don’t know why I wanted to be a lawyer – again, maybe it was to help people. But then I was advised by a teacher in Year 7 that I wasn’t smart enough and that I should choose something else ‘to be’. I believed her. To this day, I wish I hadn’t. But I never really believed in myself back then.
It’s funny how much your path in life differentiates from your youthful ambitions. I’ve spent the last twenty or more years searching for a sign of what I was meant to do, but I never found the answer.
I worked in customer service, but the changing nature of people really came to bother me. The fact that most people didn’t even say hello or thank you anymore – I just couldn’t understand it.
I then fell into team management. I loved the people management side of things. I hated the politics and game playing that came with it. If I had wanted to play chess, I would have become a professional chess player.
And then I pursued project management, thinking that maybe that was what I was meant to do as I was good at it. But, as someone wise said to me a few months ago, just because you are good at something doesn’t mean that it is good for you.
Now I am a little in limbo, but have found that writing has made an unexpected but welcome return.
Yes – my path in life has really taken me far from my youthful ambitions, but it’s also brought me back to the one that is possibly meant to be.
What did you want to be when you were little? Are you doing it now?