Dream big, little one: When did you give up what you love?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a dancer in the West End. Or a Blue Peter presenter. And I was quite adamant I’d be one of those two things. Neither panned out exactly…
Do you remember your childhood ambition? I’ll bet there were no limits. Astronaut, teacher, actor, diver, footballer, drummer, singer – whatever it was, I bet no one ever told you you couldn’t make it.
So when do we let go of our dreams?
I can’t say I’ve done too badly with mine – I work in TV, and although I decided I wanted to be behind the camera, not in front, I really enjoy what I do. I still dance, taking regular ballet and street dance classes until recently – and although I never did dance on the West End Stage I did my fair amount of performances on local ones. And loved every second..
But I have got to wondering whether there’s an exact point in time we all decide our sights are set too high. Is it around the time we get really self conscious? Or clubs get too competitive and we realise we’re not the best? Or does someone tell us we’re not good enough and we lose all confidence?
Or does life just get in the way of what we really want to do. And is that ok?
I remember a conversation with M just recently. He was in a really lovely, excitable mood – we can’t have been getting dressed or leaving somewhere fun as he’s recently told me those two things are ‘the worsest’ things – and out of nowhere he pipes up:
“Mummy, when I grow up, I want to do EVERYTHING!”
“Wow that’s a big thing to say. What do you mean, everything?”
[puts on cute ‘list voice’ which goes up at the end of each point] “I want to stay up all night, watch all the TV, be a racing driver, be 17, go to Legoland, go to school, have a Mustang, have an Aston…” (excellent ambition)
The beautiful innocence of his big eyed wonder at the world and its endless possibilities choked me up a bit. All the same time thinking – please God don’t grow up too quick. Internal wail.
“That’s brilliant, M. And when you’re bigger, I reckon you can do all those things. You just need to work hard and dream big!” I test out with my not-quite-ready-for-this-chat brave and encouraging Mummy voice.
I really do hope he’s the next Lewis Hamilton. I really do hope he goes to Legoland whenever he wants and can buy himself an Aston and a Mustang. Hell – he’s welcome try and stay up all night watching telly if he likes. But I fear these may be childhood fantasies that won’t play out when the bubble of ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES and REAL LIFE pops.
I just hope that everything he’s into now shapes the choices he make when he’s older. It certainly did for me. (And we do try to pick carefully and limit them but jeeeez the whole kids’ hobby malarky is expensive and weekend-consuming – so it may as well count!)
Just do me a favour and ask yourself why you gave up on your childhood dream? And could you do something that would at least give a nod to what you used to love?
Hmm. Off to investigate whether the Blue Peter presenter team has an age limit…
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