No, it is not 12th August…I am just very behind with my writing. My drafts folder has twenty posts which I have started but need to finish. Last month turned out to be a bit crazy and so, here I am trying to catch up.
I was really taken with the writing prompts from Sarah Elizabeth Moore in her August Write away Challenge, so although I did not have time to keep up with them during August, I am going to crack on with the prompts that caught my attention because they were brilliant writing prompts and she presented them so beautifully.
So my answer to:
Well, for a start I did not want to grow up at all. It really distressed me when I hit the age of ten. Everyone teased me, “now you are in double figures”, and I knew at that point there was no turning back! I wanted to be a child forever. I am sure many of you would have had similar sentiments at one stage that being an adult has always seemed an unavoidable outcome. But if we could remain in a Peter Pan state, many of us would take that option.
Now, at a very early age, adults would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I hated that question. I had a vague idea of what everyone on the planet should be doing when they grow up, caring for the animals, growing vegetation, building their own house and furniture, making their own clothes and curtains, and supporting their neighbours, enjoying happy times together, eating, dancing, singing. I think I described my vague idea of how things would turn out for me in this post:
Later, I had a little friend at school who was very creative, I was always academically minded – maths, reading, comprehension, writing were my strengths. I could not draw or play an instrument or design something. (I did love sports though.) I was fascinated my my little friend and she did influence me…in fact I think she is the reason I became vegetarian!
So…when my teacher recorded each one of us saying into a microphone, “When I grow up I want to be a…”, my idea came straight from my little friend. So when it was my turn, I announced to the class and to my teacher: “When I grow up I want to be a…sculpture.”
I had not realized that a person who carves a sculpture is called a sculptor. Oh well! It gave my teacher a laugh.
I was probably seven or eight years old when I started to stand out with the ferocious pace at which I worked through every comprehension exercise, workbook and reading book the school possessed. The teachers even at primary school started trying to fill my little head with ideas of being a doctor or lawyer or politician like some of my other relatives. But I had already rejected that idea in my young heart.
Why? Well, when I was six years old I was given a public speaking assignment in front of an audience of around two hundred. The theme I was assigned was bizarre considering I was only six. It was “What is the value of a university education?” My first question for my mum was, “what is university?“
Well, off I went and read all sorts about universities…and I came to the conclusion a university education does not guarantee the career of your choosing and many young people become involved in harmful habits while living on a university campus. I presented the results of my research with conviction and won the public speaking contest. But the information I had read had taken root in my heart. I fought the idea of going to university the rest of my schooling life, which is pretty hard when you get A grades in every subject except art and 100% scores in maths tests.
I did understand the need to be able to work once I left school to earn money. My parents had taught me a hard work ethic. But at school they, kept on trying to get me to choose a goal, a form of work that I would enjoy and find satisfying. It was very stressful to be asked this question when I truly had no idea what I wanted to do. I told them:
- A bunjee jumping instructor
- A canoeing instructor
- A spy
- An actress
- A writer
- A journalist
That was good enough for my teachers…they helped me to develop a career plan in order to become a journalist. Did I want to be a journalist? Nah!!!! But it did help to have something to suggest to the teachers, so they would leave me alone.
My parents wanted me to go to university because they were worried that without a university education I would struggle to make ends meet. I eventually enrolled on a course to train to be a legal secretary and then after achieving my diploma within a year…I ended up working in finance for eight years. But I have also earnt money by cleaning, gardening, decorating, walking dogs, cooking, driving and working in healthcare. I like variety.
However, this was just paid part time work, in order to earn my bread and butter. I knew exactly what I wanted to be the moment I walked onto a construction site as a volunteer. From then on, I knew what I wanted to be for the rest of my life – a volunteer, working on projects wherever there was a need, teaching people the skills I had been taught.
I was not wrong. I have learnt an array of useful skills that can be a help on projects all over the world. I have always had more than I need, and far far more friends than I can keep up with. I have had incredible opportunities to travel. My life has been rich and exciting. I view paid work as a way to earn my bread and butter. But my career, the purpose of my life is to get involved in as many projects I can as a volunteer.
I still think that the way the world works right now is upside down and back to front…I think the vague idea I had at the age of five, of what everyone on the planet should be doing when they grow up – caring for the animals, growing vegetation, building their own house and furniture, making their own clothes and curtains, and supporting their neighbours, enjoying happy times together, eating, dancing, singing – was very sensible actually.
One thing is for sure…if you do have a demanding career after years of studying at university…I hope you also have a good work/life balance – ways to relax and refresh yourself, a hobby, a loving family or group of friends.