When I grow up…


Each morning when I wake up, I count myself lucky to not feel the dread I used to experience when I had a day ahead of me at a job I didn’t really want to be in. For the first time in my life I can say that I’m doing something I love.

(c) mpclemens

(c) mpclemens

When I was younger I was such a bookworm, with my head always stuck in a book. I was forever reading, and writing stories for myself. I had such a good imagination that I couldn’t help but exaggerate or overemphasize scenarios, and I couldn’t ever give a short answer to a question, I had to describe everything and anything because I thought I was being boring if I just answered yes or no.

My dream ever since I could remember was to be a journalist and then later in life become an author. After graduating with a degree in Psychology and making my way through a raft of amorous jobs, some brief stints and some for a couple of years…in bars, juice stations, book shops, an estate agents and sales, I’m here. I’m home. It’s only by chance that I’m here, people believing in me, and a lot of hard work proving myself to people so that I could move from one side of the glass to the other that I’m here. So I’m very lucky in that sense.

(I also wanted to be a chef because I like eating. I wanted to be a champion swimmer because I came second in breast-stroke in the Guides’ racing one year and thought I was good enough. I also wanted to be a cartoonist but as I got older I realised the fact I couldn’t draw might hinder my chances of being successful, so that was short-lived. It’s only because my brother and sister were amazing at drawing I thought the talent would run in the family. Oh how I was wrong. It just decided to skip a sibling)

In any case, I think our dreams and ambitions when we were little are adorable, even if we haven’t become what we thought we would, and even moreso that some of us still dream that one day it’ll happen. I asked a couple of friends what they wanted to be when they grew up, and here are their answers…

(c) Victoria Elise Crabbe

(c) Victoria Elise Crabbe

Zoe – I always wanted to be a Blue Peter presenter. Really. I was envious of all the fun things they got to do and still get to do; the sports, the expeditions, the crafty things and baking. Even very recently I look at the amazing things people like Helen Skelton have been able to attempt through the show with envy. Sadly, very very sadly, I never made it in my dream role. And at 33 years old I suspect I am now far too old to start a career as a children’s TV presenter. But I still want to!

Emma – When I was younger I wanted to be a teacher, the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat, a stay at home mum or an astronaut! I am currently a SAHM after quitting my crappy office job three years ago. When the kids are old enough I now want to work in a nursery with preschool age kiddos.

Dom – I’ve always wanted to be a journalist! Ideally a film critic or football reporter. Am I anywhere close to my dream? Ish. Experience suggests I picked two very popular fields to write about. Do I still have the dream of being what I wanted to be? Let’s just say that I haven’t given up.

Joe –  I always wanted to be a Sports Journalist since school! I’m not a million miles away, I suppose being a journalist in the events industry. And yes, I do still aspire to write about sport for a living…one day.

(c) ymq4jmq

(c) ymq4jmq

Noush – When I was younger my tremendous love for music made me determined to become a singer and dancer. I would sing in the mirror all the time and would form random groups with people. My brother, little cousin, neighbour and I would dance at family gatherings and had ‘band practice’ where we would play the keyboard that had no batteries, strum the smallest guitar ever with no sense of rhythm and use buckets and empty containers as our drums. I then formed a group with a few friends (called Blue Zone…round the time BoyZone came out!). But here is the thing; none of us could sing or dance so that died down after one failed ‘band meeting’ (which took place on our street corner!). Years rolled on as I aspired to become a police woman (inspired by action movies) then a receptionist (because I enjoyed messing around on my mum’s typewriter). I clearly was just a very ambitious kid. Right now, I’m still trying to figure out my “true calling”.

Sarah – I wanted to be a writer, I thought it might be a stupid idea as I got older. I’ve been a freelance writer for nearly 10 years, blagged myself a commission from a magazine and never really looked back.

Mana – I always had a dream to be a famous painter or architecture. After all, I did not follow that into university and chose to study graphic design because I found that you can always paint for your own interests, it didn’t have to be your main field of study. I chose graphic design which is arty and fun for me. I didn’t choose to do architecture in the end because it had a lot of maths which I do not like. I might not be a painter but I work in the field of graphic design 🙂

Amy – Since I was very young, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I’ve written one novel, which was shortlisted in a writing competition run by Route Publishing, and am currently writing a second. I also run my blog, Ten Penny Dreams, where I post articles about books and writing. Thanks to the blog, I’ve been able to build a small but amazing community of people who share my passion for literature, which has inspired me to write as much as I can. I hope that one day I’ll be able to publish a novel.

Simon – When I was younger I wanted to grow up to be a vet, until I was about 13 because I was allergic to cats and dogs and fainted at the sight of blood (I went to watch an operation on a dog) so I gave up on that. I’ve wanted to run my own business for a long time. I didn’t envisage it would be a magazine though, but I’ve always enjoyed writing so it’s worked out pretty well, and I’ve loved swimming since I was a baby (for as long as I remember at least) so running a magazine about swimming (H2Open) is pretty good.

(c) Trish and Philip Simpson-Boulsbee

(c) Trish and Philip Simpson-Boulsbee

TJ – Based on my favourite films growing up (and still are to this day) I always wanted to be an archaeologist – thank you Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park. Nowhere close to being in that role now, because the cumulative factors of age, cynicism and my understanding of the field is a little less ancient ruins in adventurous locations, and more into the depths of libraries and laboratories, which although I would hold a passing interest in, would not suit my more active nature. In addition to this, the idea of working on the insecurity of grants has never appealed to me. I do not feel comfortable being in a position where funding, research and ultimately my job would be up for review every couple of years. That sh*t is scary. In terms of the present, I still very much enjoy visiting museums of natural history and especially keen on programmes and displays of modern history but more so of a pre-historic nature (dinosaurs!). Mix with that a serious love of travel – which has not been entirely possible due to financial restrictions. When this becomes a little more amicable I will able to fulfil the key aspects of my childhood dream.

Suzy – I went through a lot of possible career choices as I was growing up, and I guess I’m not much different now! I’m always looking for something new to challenge me and I need to remind myself to slow down and settle sometimes. I once wanted to be a beautician (I couldn’t be further from that now!), then I wanted to be a choreographer, and I also wanted to write books and poems. I’m absolutely nowhere near being a beautician or a choreographer but that’s completely fine with me as I’m not suited to either pursuit! I guess I do still have a bit of a dream about being a writer though. I’ve always enjoyed writing, since I was a teeny tot, but blogging has made me realise how much I really love writing. As an adult it’s really exciting to have a passion and a hobby that brings you back to your youth, that excites your imagination and allows you to express yourself when nothing else works. So yeah, I definitely still dream of being a writer one day and I guess I’m getting closer to it by realising my passion for writing and doing as much of it as I can through my blog and for other publications.

(c) Janne Moren

(c) Janne Moren

Dave – When I was little, from as early as I can remember, I wanted to work in a library. I’ve always loved books, and it seemed like a brilliant, magical place. I got some work experience at a local public library whilst I was at school. Two weeks of general stuff – filing books away, sorting out the new books, writing out index cards for the card catalogue (hey, it was a long time ago, ok?). That turned into a job at weekends and in the holidays. I’d work any shifts that needed working, and they soon realised that if they were stuck for staff, odds were that I’d be more than happy to come and work. Partially the money, but partially the place and mostly the people. And the books. I’d always intended to go to university to study librarianship, but one of the subject librarians at the public library advised me study something else first, then consider a post-grad course. Better pay, and a subject to fall back on should I change my mind. I ended up at Leeds for three years doing various interesting things, followed by a year working for the University Library, then a year doing a postgrad in information studies, which led in turn to a career as a law librarian. I was there for three years before moving on, but loved it. Now I’m doing something equally as enjoyable, but entirely different! I’m working for a debt advice charity in Leeds doing interesting things with digital to help people in debt. It all boils down to information though, and how best to move it around to get the best result. Ah, well I’ve already achieved my childhood dream of working in a library, and made a pretty successful career out of it for a while. I’m now on my third or fourth different kind of job since then. Maybe I need to find a new dream of what I want to be when I grow up.

What do you want to be when you grow up?



One response to “When I grow up…

  1. Pingback: Back to black | theocd squirrel·

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