Friday, July 11, 2008

Flashback Friday

In my "School Memories" book are listed, year by year, what I wanted to be when I grew up. In regular rotation from Kindergarten until sixth grade (apparently after sixth grade one stopped considering what they wanted to be when they grew up). Mostly I wanted to be:

Naturally I'd be wildly successful as a ballerina/author/artist. I'd live a carefree life among the geniuses of my time in Paris and London and New York City, mostly living in garrets and wearing berets. I'd wear only black (with a string of pearls--ala' Coco Chanel, I'd take lovers but no husband, and children? Perish the thought! (Where did I get these ideas? What was I reading? Lovers? Paris? Seriously!) I wanted nothing to do with the ordinary lives other people led--laundry, raising children, bowling on Friday nights. I'd own nothing but a suitcase full of fashionable clothes and a bookcase filled with books. Material items were for regular people, not artistes!

In 3rd grade I wrote that I wanted to be this when I grew up:

Yes, I wanted to be a "restaurant owner."

What happened? I was a dance major in college while working as a waitress and bartender. Eschewing a life of anorexia, I switched majors to study English because I loved to read. Several years after waiting on customers, I decided that working every weekend, holiday and evening was a rotten life and tossed that crazy dream out the window.

For a decade or so I taught high school and a little college. Then I did some freelance work for websites. And now?

I see I'm left with artist or author.

And I bowl every other Friday night in the winter, I run the local PTA, I live in Wisconsin, I raise 3 children and I am the epitome of Boring Normal. I have no lovers and a storage room in the basement full of stuff. Mostly I wear blue jeans and I don't wear a strand of pearls. (Insert quote by Langston Hughes here.)

What was your childhood fantasy life? Did you live it? Do you? Let me live vicariously through you!


  1. My dreams were much the same as yours...

    I knew I wanted to be a writer from the third grade on...but sometimes it took the form of "advertising copywriter," or "movie synopsis writer." Those dreams didn't persist.

    I also NEVER envisioned myself as married with children or living so far from my beloved midwest. Although I imagined myself as always a city dweller. And so I thought I'd stay in Chicago forever, with an occasional jaunt to New York and Paris.

    NOW, I'm in San Diego, with two daughters, a husband and my dream to write.

    I think I read somewhere that if you're wondering what to do with your life, think back to your 8-year-old self and remember your interests and dreams from that time, because that's your truest self.

  2. I am so loving Flashback Fridays. I wanted to be something between Mary and Rhoda. Writing or anything creative and with a style that was either chic and professional or quirky and artistic, it didn't matter, just as long as I was independent and living in a city in a great apartment (yes, I thought a 60's harvest gold studio apartment was great). So, I guess the fundamentals of what I wanted to be came true - it's just not nearly as glamorous as I imagined. :)

  3. This was a beautiful, poignant post that returned me to my dreams and their status, in a big way. I always always assumed I would be a Famous Writer for magazines, books, etc. Still plowing through on this. But I never imagined children.

  4. Honestly, having a great family was my dream. I think I wanted everything different from the way it was in the family I grew up in.

    I always thought I would be a writer also, probaby a journalist. Now that I'm finishing my teaching credential I can totally see myself submitting articles for educational journals.

  5. For some reason, when I was growing up, and even all the way through high school, it never occurred to me to think about a husband and children. I had NO IDEA what I wanted to be. For that matter, I'm still not sure.

  6. Fascinating! I'm not quite ready to 'fess up yet, maybe later. Your dreams are cool!

  7. You eschewed anorexia ... I eschewed smoking and wearing black when I gave up on being a theatre major. At the time, it broke my heart. Now? I'm thanking god for small favors.

    Still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up ...

  8. Oh heck to the no. I was going to be a large animal veterinarian, never get married and never, ever, ever have kids.

    Instead, I'm a boring business executive on my second (and last) marriage, with 1 kid of my own and two stepchildren.

    I keep asking, "WTH happened?"

  9. I dreamed of being Mom to 3 kids and a piano teacher. This dream ended in my senior year of high school, when I realized I would have to leave my fiance (yes, we were unofficially engaged in high school) and go away to college for 4 years.

    I did a 2 year medical technology training program in my hometown.
    I only had 2 kids because they were both very sick babies and we decided not to tempt fate and have a 3rd sick baby.

  10. At 10 I wanted to be a prima ballerina.
    At 14 I wanted to marry Simon Le Bon
    At 16 I wanted to be a designer
    At 28 I wanted to have babies
    At 30 I wanted to marry Robbie Williams
    At 35 I wanted to join the circus..(Giffords)
    At 39 I want to grow old disgracefully!

    Do you think the wanting to join the circus phase was a result of the having babies phase?

  11. I wanted to live in the mountains with the gorillas like Dian Fossey. Watch Gorillas in the Mist much??

    I often feel like I'm living with the gorillas only not in the mountains, in the northwoods of Wisconsin:)

  12. I wanted to be a national news anchor. And I never planned on having kids.

  13. I always wanted to be a mom.

    Funny, huh?

  14. Hee. I was going to be a corporate raider.I figured I would work long enough to receive a coupl of golden parachutes before abandoning the work-a-day world to travel.
    I intended to prove that I could "have it all" by having my children created in test tubes and carried by surrogates--- all without any male inclusion beyond my selection from a donation center. An entourage of nannies, a personal chef, and a personal assistant would keep my household running beautifully no matter where we chose to live that week.
    Uh-huh. Seriously. That was my plan.

  15. I was going to be a spy, a rock star, a vet, a lawyer, a designer, and an architecht. Marriage was not on the cards, but I might have a kid who would travel the world with me as an accomplice spy/rockstar. Ha!

  16. Loved this post. I was always going to have three kids (and only had one naturally, the other 2 came with the second marriage and were almost-grown). I was definitely going to be the next Julie Andrews. I could sing and did dance but the fact that i never grew over 5'2" had something to do with that. If I couldn't be Julie, than I would either be a Great Writer or the Head Librarian at the Bodleian in Oxford (hey, reach big).

    I NEVER saw myself as a nurse until my senior year in high school. BUT now I get to be a writer, and I DID study once at the Bodleian, so some of my dreams came true and I'm very satisfied!

    LOVE your Friday posts!

  17. I wanted to go back in time and live like Laura Ingalls Wilder.

    Then, I got smitten with our paperboy and had a notion to marry him and start a mass-production company of some sort. He never spoke to me (I was nine) and my business plan never went into action.

  18. Hey there! Found your blog through who knows where (avoiding actual work this morning!) Wanted to say "hi" from one WI mom to another and invite you link up in my Flashback Fridays - I'll have to check out your blog to see if its been something you've been doing for awhile or what! :O)


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