The other day I was out for a drive with my second eldest daughter, and she started to talk about what she wants to be when she grows up. Now clearly, because I am the most wonderful mother ever, I already knew what she wanted to be, on account of having had this conversation several times over.
Except, that actually, I don’t remember ever having asked her that particular question, and I honestly have no idea what she wants to be, so it was a very enlightening conversation. Turns out, that little Miss Bridie, quite unsurprisingly wants to do everything when she grows up. The thought that she may not have enough time, money, skill or opportunity has never entered her head, and that’s the way it should be. In our brief conversation she quite happily told me that she is going to fly planes, make movies, be a mum, but also never work. Clearly the piloting was purely recreational. 🙂
When I suggested that she might in fact need to work, and that flying planes would kind of solve that solution, she quite happily agreed with me, changed her life path, and then locked me into babysitting her children for the rest of eternity. Which ultimately conflicts with my goal of floating around the world on an ocean liner, with Boatman as the ship’s captain. But whatever. I can change just as quickly as her 🙂
It got me thinking, how when you’re seven, you really believe you can do or be anything you want, and the world has so many possibilities. It’s wonderfully liberating.
When you’re 30 however, largely uneducated, and you’ve never moved away from the town in which you were born, the world may still be your oyster, but instead of finding a pearl, you’re just confronted with a smelly, fishy booger. Not as liberating as one would hope.
The flip side of that, is, since coming to that realisation (about my non-existent musical career), I can open the doors to the things that are actually possible. Maybe the world is limited, but it is now limited to what is extremely achievable. No I’ll never be an Olympic gymnast (or any type of gymnast for that matter), a brain surgeon, a lawyer, a professional whistler, a carpenter, a cabinet-maker, a fashion designer or any other number of things, but that just means I can now concentrate on what I can do.
And more importantly, what I must do.
So the real question becomes, “Jess, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
It’s been something I’ve been thinking just lately, especially with all the talk of New Years resolutions, and goal setting, and word choosing. We can make all the grand gestures and declarations we want, but if it’s not moving us closer to what we really want to be, does it even matter? And then doesn’t the question actually change from,’ what will you do better this year?’ to ‘how will you spend your life, and start living that today?’
Because when you’re seven, you can be whatever you want and you have all the opportunity and time. But when you’re old enough to realise you don’t have enough of either, you kind of need to start making the most of what you do have.
So many deep thoughts for a Tuesday 😉
The truth is though, (and I think this is the cause of my hesitance with starting 2014 in full), is that I’m still working out what I want to be yet. I know what I don’t want, and that’s a start, and I know that this year, I will say no more often to the things that won’t build me, so that I can say yes to the things that make my heart sing.
And hopefully, in not too much time, I’ll know what I want to be when I grow up.