Childhood dreams

Monday, March 1, 2021 Permalink

This meme / image* was doing the rounds on Facebook and Twitter over the past week or two. People were commenting with their childhood dreams or aspirations.

Most responses were career-oriented. Some seemed happy they’d pursued their passions. Some had a sense of regret or perhaps resolution. Others realised their childish fantasies were exactly that. Childish. Fantasies.

Because I have no life I’ll usually comment when someone shares something like that. I’ll offer up my favourite colour. Confess to the foods I don’t eat. Work out how old I am by my taste in music. Etcetera.

childhood dreams

But I was stumped here. I mean there was the poem I wrote when I was in grade two about wanting to be a ballet dancer. (I remember it even today, and let’s just say there’s a reason I dislike poetry. And as a note to my 6yr old self: there should be a limited number of times one can use the words dancer and prancer in a one-verse poem!)

I liked writing and reading. I liked television and movies. I fantasised for a while about modelling but soon realised it wasn’t a feasible option and didn’t have the confidence to pursue it.

I had no real calling. Professionally.

Both of my parents were in what I’d call ‘jobs’ rather than professions they had any passion for. I assumed work to be a necessary evil to pay the bills.

So, after much pondering I realised that (when young), when I thought of my future, I thought of it in terms of being married with kids.

I would be a wife and mother.

I know? It should have been simple right?**

My parents would have been happy for me to opt for almost any job after school but my only motivation was to get out of my childhood hometown and University provided that answer.

I wonder if my lack of ambition was shaped by the world I inhabited at the time. I knew a couple of people whose parents were teachers. My uncle was a dentist – which briefly shaped my brother’s career aspirations, but most people I knew had ‘jobs’ rather than careers or professions.

I know of people of a similar age to me who didn’t have the opportunity to go to university, and certainly girls for whom it wasn’t an option. They were just breeders after all. So I’m very thankful my parents didn’t think twice about my education.

I wonder now though, if the fact I’ve changed jobs and professions SO MANY TIMES throughout my life is a reflection of that lack of aspiration when young?

Did you see this meme floating around? Did you know what you wanted to do, or perhaps you didn’t have options? What would your answer be?ย 

* I saw this on many FB pages with no attribution so apologies I don’t know the original source.
** For new readers, I’m neither of those things….

  • Natalie
    March 2, 2021

    I haven’t seen this meme as I’m not on Fb and Twitter. Some people know at a young age exactly what they want to do when they grow up and they make a career out of it. Others change careers a few times in their working years. I don’t think the latter is due to lack of aspiration when young. If you have several dreams or if your interests change over time and have the opportunities to change careers then why not. #lifethisweek

    • Debbish
      March 2, 2021

      I’ve certainly changed careers and professions a number of times. Sometimes deliberately and sometimes by default… I’ve fallen into something new.

  • Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
    March 2, 2021

    I can’t remember having career aspirations and nothing much has changed! I did for a while want to become a primary school teacher and did in fact become a primary school teacher but after 15 years teaching couldn’t get away from the profession quick enough! I’ve reverted back to my childhood self and having no career aspirations. I wish I did have some professional passion though, I always admire people who have a “calling.”

    • Debbish
      March 2, 2021

      Sammie I think one of the things I struggle most with at the moment is that I don’t feel particularly ambitious and I feel bad about that. On one hand I wish I was back in my old life just to earn some good money and feel financially secure, but on the other I know I felt really constricted then. I just can’t seem to work out how to balance the two.

  • Sue from Women Living Well After 50
    March 2, 2021

    Hi Deb, I always wanted to be two things – a ballet teacher (I could have taught you!) and a school teacher. I achieved the first and became a ballet teacher at 15 when I was still at school. I loved it! I also matriculated and wanted to be a teacher but foolishly allowed my parents to sway me because ‘didn’t I have a ballet school?’ ‘why do you want to go to uni when you will probably just get married and have a family?’ I did however become a teacher of sorts later in life when my husband and I managed a H&R Block office. I taught students how to complete Tax Returns so they could work the Tax season at H&R Block. It was so satisfying and I know that teaching is my calling. #lifethisweek

    • Debbish
      March 2, 2021

      I still remember a couple of girls my brother’s age (he’s 57) who were good at school but whose parents wouldn’t entertain the idea of them doing further study because they were girls. I’m sure it still happened for years after I graduated. I hate the idea of people’s dreams thwarted but as you say, you sometimes find other ways to achieve them and you’re also doing your coaching so it’s wonderful to have found your calling after all.

  • Davida Chazan
    March 2, 2021

    I’d be a poet! Mind you, I did have some poetry of mind published, but I’m really not that good!

    • Debbish
      March 3, 2021

      Davida, I just can’t even bring myself to read poetry. I think I was scarred when I was at school (40 years ago!) and stupid comprehension tests that I hated. Ever since I’ve assumed I don’t understand poetry – the metaphors and symbolism. I appreciate words and writing but feel like most poetry goes over my head.

  • Vanessa
    March 3, 2021

    Ok, firstly, bit harsh on your 6 year old self ๐Ÿ™‚

    I never remember having a specific childhood dream. I miss working in research jobs and using those parts of my degrees but the funding for social good type things will never exist when we have so many years of conservative governments so I’ve pretty much written that off as a practical option. And when I do see jobs I like, the pay is so appalling I couldn’t live on it.

    I generally like where I am now with work, the uncertainty and general workplaces stresses of a restructure notwithstanding. I hope it settles because it is an unpleasant undercurrent when you speak to people.

    • Debbish
      March 3, 2021

      “I want to be a ballet dancer, I want to dance like a prancer.
      I want to dance with other dancers, I want to dance like other prancers.
      I want to wear a pretty tutu. Do you want to wear one too?”

      I rest my case!

      The work stuff is really preying on my mind at the moment. I’ve basically decided to ditch the stuff I’ve fantasised about and get a real job, but unfortunately the jobs here are few and far between.

  • Denyse Whelan Blogs
    March 4, 2021

    I guess I followed my childhood dream because I always liked being with and helping little kids…from around 12 and it led to my career choice.I still had to work a bit harder in Year 12 – finally- to get the place at teacher’s college.I am glad I could do the jobs I had and thank my father for his encouragement to become educated at tertiary level..Told him again recently too.

    Thanks for being a consistent, caring and contributing blogger to this community I call #lifethisweek. Next week we are sharing our snaps (photos) and thatโ€™s an optional prompt. See you next Monday, I hope, as always.

    • Debbish
      March 4, 2021

      Thanks Denyse it is great you got to follow your passion and your love of teaching and educating children is still evident now even though you’ve retired.

  • Molly Totoro
    March 4, 2021

    I never saw this meme… but it is thought-provoking and something I will probably journal later his week ๐Ÿ™‚ On first blush, I would say my childhood dream was to marry and have a close-knit family. I always admired big families who always seemed to laugh around the evening dinner table (a la The Waltons). I’ve come to realize that while that particular vision may not come to pass (my children don’t always get along with one another – or us – depending on the month) … my dream did come true in its own way. I have three healthy, independent children. I have three delightful grandchildren. My husband and I will celebrate our 39th anniversary in June. Thank you for the great prompt!

    • Debbish
      March 5, 2021

      Yes, for me it was also a reminder of how we picture our lives vs how they actually turn out. Even for the things most take for granted (like love and kids etc…)

I'd love to hear your thoughts