Tag Archives: aspirations

What do you want to be when you grow up? 

It was my youngest son’s first day of school today. He is absolutely over the moon and seems to have really enjoyed it. As his wee treat after school (set up in case he hadn’t enjoyed it) we went for a swim.

Hazel (my wife) is a swimming instructor and she played a game with him to distract him a bit as she improved his swimming; he had to jump into the pool and tell her what he wanted to be when he grew up.

Being in the swimming pool he quickly decided that he wanted to be a scuba diver when he grew up. However, being a five year old he has also recently told us that he wanted to be a farmer, a writer, a train driver, and a bear. It’s pretty clear that the aspirations of five year olds are quite transient.

His big brother is a whole different kettle of fish. For well over a year he has consistently told us that he wants to be an animator. The only thing that’s changed has been the medium; sometimes it’s claymation (after watching Shaun the sheep), sometimes stop motion lego (after a bit of Tim and Ralph, and if you haven’t seen these you should really check them out [season 1] [season 2], Michael Hicox is brilliant).

We typically start to get quite fixed ideas about what we want to do with our lives from an early age. Sometimes these stick and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes we attain the job of our dreams and sometimes we don’t.

I always wanted to be a writer, from the day I realised that my favourite stories were written by people and didn’t just appear from thin air I desperately wanted to understand how they manipulated language to do such astounding and remarkable things. It’s not like my full time job yet but I do feel closer to it now thanks to Jack and his friends.

There were kids in my class who wanted to be inventors (some of them are now engineers), there were kids who wanted to be firemen (and some of them are), we all had a small picture of what was available to us but we still seemed to have an inkling of what sort of thing we wanted to do with ourselves as adults.

It makes you wonder if we somehow have natural aptitudes. I’ve done a lot of different jobs in my life from handyman, to busker, to retail, to more corporate, and more academic work. Alongside all of this I’ve always written. I have books that I’ve been working on since my early twenties, and I have books that started in the planning stage just weeks ago. It feels right for me to write.

My son is completely shattered, he seems to have enjoyed his first day of school, part of me would love a day back in the simplicity of primary one but to be honest I’m pretty happy up here in my early thirties too.

Do you have a skill that feels ‘right’ to you? Is there something that has always stood out to you as ‘your thing’?

Are you lucky enough to be what you wanted to be back when you were five?

Feel free to let us know in the comments below. As always, thanks for reeding, All the best, John