In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Futures Past.”
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? How close or far are you from that vision?
Growing up I always had a very active imagination (I still do) and what I wanted to be as a grown up would change every day. My childhood dreams varied in a number of ways, from nurse (sensible, kind, helpful) to the more unrealistic (read insane!). Some of my more crazy ambitions included:
- Astronaut – what kid doesn’t have this dream?
- Space cowboy – my brother’s influence no doubt
- Actress – this dream was probably less likely than the two above. I have absolutely no acting (or singing) ability and quite frankly was lucky if I got cast as a tree in school plays
- Superhero – I always found it difficult to pick my favourite superhero so imagined myself as an amalgam of all the best Marvel and DC heroes
- Air traffic controller – this was a slightly more recent dream (from about 10 or so years ago). There are numerous issues with this one;
- I have absolutely no sense of direction (I get lost a lot)
- I cannot read a map to save my life (my dad tried to teach me but soon figured out that I’m a bit of a lost cause in this department)
- Apparently this job has a really high suicide rate due to the stressful nature of the role. I’m not a major fan of stress (who is?) so this idea quickly got ruled out.
I have always lacked direction. I could easily tell you exactly what I don’t want to do with my life, but when it comes to what I do want to do I have always struggled to come up with an answer. Throughout university all of my friends had specific career paths in mind whilst I happily ambled along figuring it would all sort itself out. Suffice to say everyone thought I was a bit of an ostrich – cue lots of people offering me “helpful advice”.
Upon graduating the tables seemed to turn. Of our group I was the first to get what was considered a ‘grown up’ job – the job meant a move to a big city, my own flat etc. and a few jealous friends. They had all set themselves a specific career path but it was harder to break in to these areas than they envisaged. The flexibility that came with having no direction meant I was open to try different experiences.
Now don’t get me wrong, my lack of direction has not always been a good thing. I wasted a few years in a job that made me miserable, working with people I didn’t like – and why did I do this? The answer is simple; I was good at it, and admitting it wasn’t right for me felt like I was failing. Things finally came to a head after a traumatic experience in my personal life made me put things in to perspective and I quit. I did this without another job lined up (at a time of high unemployment figures in the UK). To this day this is one of the more reckless things I have done, as well as one of the best.
I eventually fell in to my current job which most definitely doesn’t match my more imaginative childhood dreams. Funnily enough it is closer to the more sensible roles I used to play as a child. Whilst not a nurse (needles bother me – a lot!) I do work in the ‘health’ industry for a charity and my job, whilst not involving Stetsons or aliens, is for the most part interesting and fulfilling.