Childhood Dreams

Is it possible to become who we are apart from the most cherished desires of our hearts? I wonder. What do you think?

We all have them: those dreams and desires which fill our hearts from an early age. The question is, have your dreams felt like friends? Have you enjoyed entertaining them? Was it always easy to believe that they would one day be fulfilled? Or have they taken turns inspiring you, puzzling you, and frustrating you along the way? Have there been times when you even resented them because they stayed just out of reach and teased you from afar? Have you ever felt that to pursue them would be too self-indulgent, and that your greater self needed to sacrifice and abandon them?

Did anyone ever dismiss your dream, squash it, or try to snatch it away from you? (That really hurts, doesn’t it?)

I’ve had all these feelings, at different times in my life. I think we all have.

No matter the circumstances of our childhood, most of us had fun thinking about “what we wanted to be when we grew up”. The adults in our lives plied us with tantalizing options: do you want to be a teacher? a fireman? an astronaut? (Those were popular choices when I was a child in the 50s 🙂 ) What were the popular choices when you were a child? What was your first dream? Who was out there, encouraging you?

For me, the first ‘occupation’ I envisioned for myself was as an Olympic ice skater. LOL I had taken skating lessons for a couple of years, and absolutely loved it. Then in 1960, I watched on our little black-and-white TV as Carol Heiss won the Gold in Ladies Singles. At age ten I was blissfully unaware of the amount of work involved in reaching competition status; I just knew I would like to skate for the crowds like Carol Heiss one day! (Ahhh… the innocence of a child’s imagination…!)

Later that year we moved to France, and the dream of being a competitive skater quickly gave way to other goals in my life. It wasn’t long before I had fallen in love with languages. The next thing I knew, I wanted to be a U.N. interpreter! (Yes, I guess I was guilty of dreaming pretty big in those days!) Actually, that second big dream isn’t too far removed from where I eventually ended up:  Language has been the main pivot point for everything I’ve done in my professional life.

So, what were your dreams as a young child? Where did they find their roots? Who caught your interest and who did you admire at a young age (or any age!)? And how did they influence you to dream your first – and biggest – dreams?

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