My fellow Lawson High School alum, Mary Carver, has started a wonderful series over at her blog,Giving Up on Perfect, all about giving up on those fairy tales we might still be dragging with us kicking and screaming into our adult realities. She’s also come up with a weekly Wednesday prompt to get you thinking about your own experiences with this topic. Here’s my take on today’s prompt about childhood dreams and how they compare with my real adult life.
Confession Time: I used to pretend my room was a stage and the walls were the beginning of the audience. My audience. I, of course, was Tiffany (who I preferred over Debbie Gibson) and I was in the mall singing to a packed group of screaming teenage fans. My childhood dream? That I’d grow up to be a rock star.
Double Confession Time: When my room was not a rock arena, it was a classroom. My Cabbage Patch Dolls were my students, and I held them captive my savvy lesson plans and ultra-cool teaching style. And I wasn’t afraid to put their names on the board should they get out of line. My childhood dream? That I’d grow up to be a teacher.
Triple Confession Time: A few years later, when the rock concerts and days of pretend school died down, there was a desk with a word processor on it (I think it might have been from J.C. Penney or even Montgomery Ward?) in my room, and I’d sit there, typing away at my bestseller. Oh, it was a doozy. It had a long-lost island, a teenage heroine and a much older, handsome hero who was going to rescue her from an arranged marriage. Yeah. I’m cringing, too. My childhood dream? That I’d write one of the bestselling novels of all time.
Whew. Now that I have my confessions off my chest, I can tell you that none of those things panned out the way I thought they would, as much as my child’s heart wanted them to.
First Reality Check: The only rocking out I do these days is in the minivan or at home when nobody else is around. I occasionally sing out the “Austin and Ally” theme song when it comes on, and usually one of my girls will say, complete with an eye roll, “Moo-omm!” My adult reality? While I love music, keeping to the private concert scene is more suited to who I am.
Second Reality Check: I do most of my teaching these days to my two girls, always trying to drum in the life lessons they’ll need to make it in today’s world. They are way better students than my Cabbage Patch Dolls were, and much more funny, engaging and cute. My adult reality? What I have, the “job” to guide these two young ladies in life, is way better than anything I could have imagined.
Third Reality Check: I miss that word processor. It stopped working a long time ago, and I think I might have shed some tears the day it decided to die. But I did manage to finish a 65,000 word book (which, trust me, was a HUGE accomplishment for me – me who always starts well, but has trouble finishing). My adult reality? Shoot for the moon, yes. Go for the gusto, yes. But, be intuitive to the stories that are really inside you, and finish what you start!
It’s the understatement of the year to say that sometimes life doesn’t always work out the way we think it will or how we want it to. But, I think the key is not squashing those dreams that we kept in our little girls’ hearts – not pulverizing them until they’re unrecognizable – but nurturing those seeds with all the common sense and lessons learned and things experienced along the way.