I was talking to a friend the other day, discussing how we’re adults now (we’re both turning 28 this year) and how our lives have turned out differently than we thought they would. It was a rather serious conversation, you know, about changing one’s expectations and all that, but it got us talking about our childhood dreams as well.
So my question for you is: what do you want to be when you grow up? Or, alternatively, what was your opinion on the matter when you were a kid or a college student still deciding what to do with your life? Do you think you’ve yet to choose your career or are you already doing what you think you’ll be doing for the rest of your life?
I’m currently on maternity leave, but when I’m working, I work as a freelance book translator. This is a wonderful job and I’m rather good at it – and if I picture myself 40 years from now, I can easily see myself doing the same thing (it all depends on the book you get, really, but each translation is a new journey – you book-lovers can surely relate). I know I’m incredibly lucky to have found such a great match for myself in my (late) 20s and I can only hope it’ll stick. I knew I wanted to work with books when I was about 15 and I read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in English and then had to wait for the Slovenian translation (Harry Potter in ognjeni kelih) to come out so I could discuss it with my friends.
But I had my share of other ideas when I was growing up – they include (but are not limited to) the following:
- A primary-school teacher – my grandmother was one, so I guess I picked up the idea from her. Interestingly, I never wanted to be a psychologist though both my parents are just that.
- A botanist/pharmacist – I imagined the job would entail working in something resembling a tea shop where people would come with their ailments and I’d have the answer to everything.
- A witch – I think we can all safely assume this one is the result of my fascination with Harry Potter.
- A professor at Oxford University/la Sorbonne – this one came along when I was about 14 and visited Oxford with my parents (Paris came into play later, when I had French in high school for the first time). Have you ever seen how amazing the architecture is? I’d still jump at a chance to teach there, that’s for sure!
- A journalist/photographer working for National Geographic – my father has been a subscriber to the American edition of this magazine for at least 20 years and I think leafing through (and eventually reading) the articles on amazing landscapes and foreign cultures is one of the reasons I love travelling so much. This is another opportunity I’d still love to get! :)
My husband, who’s a really good computer programmer now, wanted to design cars when he was little. This friend of mine, who now works as a teacher of French language and also as a kindergarten teacher, wanted to study remote cultures in Africa.
None of us is unhappy with our lives right now – it’s just that our lives went a different way from what we imagined when we were growing up. Our lives rarely turn out according to our plans, which makes them all the more interesting and unpredictable.
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I’d love to hear your stories: What made you choose your current studies/profession? What were your childhood dreams? Have you formed any new dreams recently? :)