It always seems impossible until it is done ~ Nelson Mandela
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I have never known what I wanted to be when I grew up.
When I was 7 I wanted to be an actress and would perform “skits” and lip-syncs for the entertainment of my parents and their friends. I remember going to summer, drama day camps where I was always cast as the “narrator,” or a mouse, as in the case of our production of Cinderella. I participated in drama classes all the way through to high school. I enjoyed it, but it became fairly obvious that I was not going to make a career of acting, there are not many “narrator” roles available. In hindsight, perhaps I could have narrated a cartoon mouse!? There was no devastation or disappointment, merely acceptance and I turned to my other diverse interests.
My dad fervently encouraged my writing. I always loved to write and thought that I could be a journalist or work for a newspaper or a magazine. When I was 11 or 12, my best friend and I developed a fashion magazine. She could draw and, at the time, she wanted to be a fashion designer. I was far more interested in writing up the style descriptions and laying out the magazine than I was about the fashion. After several “issues” of the magazine, we decided to no longer print it and the back issues gathered dust under my bed. I moved on to another interest.
At 15 years old, I worked at the movie theatre, head popcorn girl, with the added benefit of free movies. Still interested and motivated by writing, I started writing movie reviews for the school paper, “Nic’s Flicks” was my tagline. Although Nic’s Flicks did not continue past middle school, I did write and work for the school and university newspaper for many more years to come. I maintained my interest in writing and literature into my first few years of University.
During this time I was envious of those who always knew what they wanted to do with their lives. I wished that I could just be told what it was that I was best at or that there was a sorting process of some kind that would just tell me what it was that I was going to be when I grew up. I was jealous of my friends who were so talented and excelled in a particular area that it was apparent to all of us that they would be a doctor or a lawyer or a computer programmer or a nuclear physicist. I was a great student and I did very well in school, but I did not excel or have a passion for any one thing in particular. I was average at everything.
I stumbled upon emergency medical services and nursing after taking a first aid course in my third year, of my first time at University. Although I have enjoyed a long, and successful, 18 year career in this field, if I’m completely honest with myself, it’s never been my Calling. Don’t get me wrong, I love making a difference, I love listening to all the different stories from patients and families and loved ones, and I love being able to help those who really need it with compassion, empathy and kindness. But if I’m really honest, if I strip away the shoulds, expectations and projections or perceived projections, it does not set my soul on fire.
“Life is too short to be unhappy” my dad said to me one day, and on several different days after that. His words have never left me. I look to how he pursued every new endeavour with an ardent passion for what he was doing. As though success was inevitable. I admired that in him. He was not always successful, however, but it never seemed to phase him. He just went on to the next idea that he felt inspired by. At least that’s the way it appeared to my childlike eyes.
I believe strongly in chasing my dreams, in pursuing what lights me up and makes me excited about the possibilities, in taking a leap of faith. I just don’t know what it is I want to be when I grow up. I do know that what excites me is writing, is expressing myself, is sharing of myself and telling stories of my discoveries. I do know that I have a passion for good leadership and motivating others and inspiring them to make their dreams and goals a reality. I do know that I love to plan and be organized and see a goal be realized. Exactly what it is that I want to be when I grow up still eludes me, but I’m determined to figure it out. I’m determined to find my dream and get busy chasing it.
It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop ~ Confucius