“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
How many times, as a child, do you think you were asked this question?
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
And then follow the long list of suggestions ensues:
- Prime Minister
How many people have become the thing they told their parents they were going to be?
Do you want to know what I was going to be when I grew up?
A Zoologist. More specifically, a Primatologist.
You see, growing up, I had this obsession with Dian Fossey.
I watched ‘Gorilla’s In The Mist’ when I was around 10 years old and my 10 year old self thought to herself, “that — that right there — is a worthy job” and I thought that it was exciting. This job is unique — because no one else I know does it. I can go live in Africa — better yet, I can live in The Virunga Mountains, live off of fruit, and play with cute little African children, learning how to communicate with Mountain Gorillas and never have to worry about showering or brushing my hair ever again.
To 10 year old (labelled that stereotypical term “tom boy”) little me, that sounded like a dream.
Running around the jungle, Sigourney Weaver hair, smoking a cigarette (okay, I didn’t really want to be smoking, but since we’re going with stereotypes, it looked “cool” at the time — I’ve since learnt, smoking and the term “cool” is a serious oxymoron) and falling in love with a trendy photographer who I’d ultimately have to dump for the sake of my gorillas, was the dream.
And yes, I did adopt one.
But life is not so straight forward.
Growing up we realise that dreams do not always come to fruition; dreams are not always meant to be a reality — and that dreams that we have as a child are often not always what we actually want.
Fast forward 20 years and I am married to an incredible man, Home Educating our four young children, desperately trying to maintain control of the washing pile and write in any spare moment that I have.
You see, it took me a long time to figure out what I was meant to be doing with my life. I’d spent much of it dabbling with the thing that I loved to do, all the while living in a perpetual state of “fear of failure”.
For a long time, after having my boys, I figured that my was life was just that — I was “just” a mum. That my dreams were to be kept silent and Iocked up and that the kids always came first, in everything. My life as a mother put my life as a dreamer on hold.
But you know what I really want to be?
I want to be a writer.
Not just any writer.
This blog, for me, is a gateway drug. It’s the thing that keeps me sane amidst nappies and teaching time tables. It’s the thing that reminds me, every day, that some day, ONE day, I’m going to be a writer full time. That this novel I’ve been working on for the past goodness-knows-how-many-years will get published.
Why am I rambling on about all this now, you ask?
Perhaps it’s the new year — resolutions are everywhere.
Perhaps it’s turning 30 — did I think that this would be my life at 30?? Obviously not — I was absolutely meant to be picking bugs out of a primates fur at this point.
Perhaps it’s watching my children get older, bigger, more accomplished, and wanting them to see that, as much as I love being their mother, as much as I adore them and being with them, that is not all that I am, nor all that I am meant to be doing.
I am not only a mother. That is not enough for me. I have ambitions. I have goals. And that’s not a dirty thing to say, not something to be ashamed of. Even though, for a long time, I was made to feel like it was.
Being a mum is not the only reason why, I believe, I was put on this earth.
Isn’t that exciting?
I don’t walk by bookstores and daydream about seeing my book’s front cover in the window by accident! I don’t wake in the middle of the night, sitting bolt upright in my bed with a clear scene from one of my novels in my head for the heck of it!
I am meant to be a writer — an author.
But it’s my job to chase that. It’s my job to fight for it, if that’s the thing I really want – believe – I should to be doing.
I didn’t know that when I was a kid. I had no clue. And it’s taken until I grew up to figure it out – to figure a lot out.
So I’d like to ask you a question — the original question, actually, though slightly altered —
What do you want to be now that you’re a grown up?
Now that the time waiting for the moment of enlightenment to come, that dinging lightbulb, that life-altering epiphany, that realisation to strike you in the heart as a child has passed you by or been buried beneath a thick skin of worry or boundaries and rules and fear and expectation, or questions of “Can I actually do this?”, ask yourself, what is it that you want to do?? Who do you want to be?? And what is stopping you from accomplishing your goal?
For me, it’s always been fear. Always. 100%. Fear of failure and fear of letting people down. Fear of others’ opinions of me. Isn’t that is pathetic? That I’ve allowed other peoples’ voices to become louder than my own?
So I’ve decided to “name” this 2018 year, a cheesy, visualisation, thing to do, yes, but one that I’m hoping will start me on the right path.
Not being one for convention, I’ve consequently decided to name my year two things.
“My year of belief”
Belief in myself.
Belief that I can be anything I want to be.
Belief that who I have been so far does not define me.
Belief that someone else’s opinion doesn’t matter as much as my own.
Belief that change is good.
Belief that I am good enough.
“My year to be brave”.
Brave enough to fight for what I want.
Brave enough to say the things I’ve always been to scared to.
Brave enough to put myself out there.
Brave enough to be bigger than my fear of rejection.
Brave enough to make changes.
Brave enough to know what I want to be now that I’ve grown up.
I’d like to invite you to join me to “name your year” — that, or to ask yourself the question that I’m currently pondering on — “what do you want to be now that you’re a grown up?”
Let me know in the comments what you wanted to be when you were a kid, what you want to be now & if you’re wanting to join me in naming your year!