When I was 5 I wanted to be a deep sea diver, I’d gone swimming for the first time, seen the bottom of the pool, found an earring back and decided I wanted to dive for treasure when I grew up.
When I was 10 I wanted to be a book illustrator, I was obsessed with drawing, my family is made up of an eclectic mix of talents, but my Grandmother was a designer and I wanted to BE her and since I loved drawing, that was what I decided I was going to be.
Except when my hamster died when I was 11 I wanted to be a vet, so I could take care of sick or dying animals. This lasted as long as it took to bury Lickety-Split on the Downs in a shoebox.
When I turned 13 I wanted to be an actress, I loved drama and I was also bought into the idea of being involved in the set design.
When I was 15 I wanted to be a writer, I had moved on from theatre to Literature and the reading I’d adored ever since I first picked up and read E Nesbit turned into a desire to be on the giving end and to write.
By the time I was 17 I’d left home, was studying for A-levels and hating every minute. I had no idea what I wanted to do, no idea how or why I’d even bother getting to university. I had a nagging feeling I still wanted to go to Art College, so I hobbled through to a place doing Art Foundation. I pissed the year up a wall and at 19 I got a job full time in the shop I’d been working part-time while studying.
I then spent the next 4 years languishing in retail, detesting every tedious minute. My next stint was a temp job in an office and 14 years later I’m at the same company having “worked my way through the ranks.” I’ve left a couple of times to try other things during that time, but have always ended up going back.
I do not talk about my job on my blog and won’t, all I need to say is it’s pretty good, I enjoy it and I like my colleagues, I also work from home so I have a work life balance not many of my counterparts enjoy. Life could be much worse. But I often wonder what happened to the passion and love I felt for those subjects that inspired me.
Somewhere in my mid-teens the drive left me, I don’t know if it was a lack of confidence, a lack of inspirational role models, a combination of the two or more, I do know that the challenge of cost and practicality played a big part. I wish in some ways I could go back and do things differently, take myself in hand and help the young me pick a path through. But that’s just fateful thinking, I wouldn’t have my beautiful son, or the happy life I so enjoy. After all, my nan learnt how to play the piano at 65 and is a very accomplished photographer, having learned how to take and develop her own photos in her 70s.
You never run out of time to expand your knowledge and enjoyment of life. But a career? My advice is try and discover what it is you love early and give it your all, because as a woman, there will be way more obstacles in your way. And time, unfortunately at this particular point in history is not on your side.