When I grow up…

When I was little, I wanted to be several things. All at once. Successfully. Because, of course, this is undeniably possible when you’re eight years old. Fast forward 3+ decades. Below are a few things I wanted to be. Let’s see if any of them came true.

1. Disney animator

Yes, the old-fashioned way by hand-painting cellulose sheets (aka. cells) and  creating recipes for specific shades and hues to ensure consistency. I’d  pretend I was one of Disney’s original “Nine Old Men” (amazingly, the  only 8-year-old on that team) and exaggerate movements in a mirror and draw them out. A branch of the art evolved into computer animation. Not to bash  gorgeous stop-motion animation (e.g., Wallace and Gromit, James and the Giant Peach), but computer animation epitomizes the perfect relationship between  high-tech and storytelling/creativity/originality/make-up-any-reality-you-want.

NOW: I might be accused of batting my eyelashes at a particularly jazzy piece of techy gizmo every now and then, but despite the technology, I’ll always love a good story regardless of medium.

2. Private investigator or spy (the good-guy kind)

After reading “Harriet The Spy” (by Louise Fitzhugh), I made my own  personal “spy kit”: Sugar Crisp bear lunch box, check. Paper and pen, check. Elastic bands and paper clips for creating fantastical  “Q”-like gizmos, check. P&B sandwich, cookies, marbles, deck of  cards, and flashlight, check-check. One can’t be too prepared! And then it was  off to secret missions that involved following the neighbourhood dog, exploring the fields across the street, or finding cosy hiding spots to read and conspire  with friends to create complex codes that we always forgot how to decipher.

NOW: Well, two things… (a) I still  like gizmos and tools that let me do/create/fix/learn things, and (b) I’m still curious about people – who they really are and why they do what they do.

3. Superheroine

Oh, I possessed great powers! I could be invisible, read minds, and fly. I had  laser vision. I was bionic. I ran in slow-motion. Special sound effects accompanied each super-power feat. On our bikes, my best friend and I safeguarded our neighbourhood. Secret identities: we posed as 4th-graders.

NOW: After a hiatus, I’m getting back  into my running. Sadly, I’m not bionic. My body is not indestructible. I’ve developed other great powers: humour, compassion, patience (most times), and  the ability to accept that I’m human.

4. CHiPs officer

Those of you who grew up in the same era know that of which I speak. And when I  was taking a day off from my superheroine duties, my bike was transformed  complete with hockey card stuck in the spokes. Again, cohorts of the same era will smile and nod in reminiscence. For those who don’t know, CHiPs was a TV  show about the California Highway Patrol (CHP) on motorcycles.

NOW: As a happy, happy owner of a  motorcycle, I think it’s clear from past posts how this one turned out! End of story. The fat lady is now singing.

I don’t believe we change fundamentally too much from who we were  as kids. Some of us became exactly what we envisioned while others made  decisions (or, as life has it, some decisions were made for us) along the way  contributing to who we are today. Yet there’s still plenty of room to become more and choose to make conscious choices. Not trying to be too deep here. Just wondering if you’ve touched base with your inner kid recently. I’m not done growing up. Are you?

What were your childhood dreams and visions?
How are they manifested today?
What do you envision for your future self?


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