Friday Essay – What did you want to become as a child?


Me, circa 1981, not enjoying skating

The first meaning-making question I decided to tackle came from the Goodlife Zen website: What did you want to become as a child?

When I was five I wanted to be an Indian (see post about Buffy Sainte-Marie), but I’ve already covered that.  My first recollection of thinking about a career as an adult I was eight or nine.  I read a book about a long-haul trucker.  That sounded like fun.  A while later I became obsessed with a book about Eugenia Clark, naturally I decided to become a marine biologist, though I had never seen an ocean.  When I was about twelve one of my class assignments was to write a paragraph about what you were going to be when you grew up.  By then I had decided to be a veterinarian (I had probably read a book about veterinarians … I am beginning to see a pattern here).  While writing this assignment I chatted with my mom who told me I would most likely become a writer.  I even volunteered at the local vet clinic.  I decided not to become a vet after that – too much science and math and school.  Though it was an excellent experience.  I was profoundly moved by the opportunity to witness a sick old dog breathe her last breath and pass away.  In the years between grades six and twelve I toyed with a lot of ideas about careers – journalist, fashion designer, musician, actor, director. I even took a computerized test in grade twelve (this was 1989, the technology was limited) it suggested I become a member of the clergy or a forest ranger. In any event, none of these came to fruition.  Fear often held me back from pursuing some of these fields – fear of speaking up to someone who held power in some way, fear that I wasn’t good enough and would fail.

In thinking about this question I realized that what I wanted to become and what I had a real interest in as a child were not necessarily the same things.  As a child I loved to dance, sing and make art.  I was encouraged in these areas by my parents and teachers.  My parents instilled in me a fascination with culture, people, history, art, science, stories – generally, a thirst for knowledge.  When I was twelve my Nana took me to the Netherlands to meet her family.  That trip and her stories gave me a deep and lasting interest in history and heritage.  I became particularly interested in mid-twentieth century history.  I have been a spiritual person all my life as well.  My mom and Nana took me to church.  The religion didn’t really take but the spirit did.  Trying to balance and reconcile my spiritual and magickal beliefs with a rational and practical mind has been a challenge for a long time.

So what I wanted to become as a child and what I was becoming are not the same thing.  I wanted to be a long-haul trucker and a marine biologist – I am a traveller who loves to spend time by the ocean.  I wanted to become a veterinarian and church minister – I am a lover of life with a personal ministry that facilitates growth and depth.  I wanted to become a journalist, a dancer, an actor, a director – I am a writer and performer of various genres.  I am many things and will continue to grow and learn and deepen.  On my meaning-making journey meditating on this question has helped me realize that what my mind thinks and what my heart knows are sometimes very different but together they lead to the most interesting places!

Have you become exactly what you imagined you’d become as a child?

Be Lovely to Each Other,