I have always been a big dreamer. When I was a child my list of things I wanted to be when I grew up was massive.
- Gorilla Zookeeper
- Wedding Dress Designer
- Own my own craft store
- Cake Designer
- Police Officer
- Foster Parent
- Race Car Driver
My list changed back and forth throughout the years. I was never without big ideas and aspirations. In school I joined every extra-curricular activity and club in my school. One year, one of my teachers pulled me aside and told me I couldn’t be in everything and that I had to choose only a few. That confused me. Why did I have to choose? Why couldn’t I do all those things I felt excited and passionate about? It felt wrong. I remember letting two things go that year; choir and track and field. It really upset me to do that. As an adult my enthusiasm for wanting to be and do different things in life has continued. At the age of 43 I have diplomas in, Social Work, Educational Assistant, Early Childhood Education, and Hospital Nursing Unit Clerk. My list of jobs as an adult has been vast.
- Addictions Counsellor
- Housing Support Worker
- Group Facilitator
- Educational Assistant
- Program Assistant
- Early Childhood Educator
- Owner of Cake Design Company
- Owner of Etsy Shop
I have also spent a lot of time volunteering as a Breakfast Program Coordinator, Library Assistant, Dance Teacher, Kindergarten Assistant, and as of late-Mental Health Writer and Advocate.
A few years ago my son commented on me taking another school program. He said that I cannot keep taking all these things and switching careers. He said that I have to decide. I was confused where he got that idea because I certainly haven’t given him that message. Then I remembered my teacher in school. The one that tried to limit my passions and enthusiasm for life and experiences. There are many people in this world like that teacher with the mindset that think, you go to school, you pick one thing, you stay stuck with it miserable or not, and that is the end. That is life. That has never been my life. If I had to conform to one career path and one job until retirement I think it would be soul destroying. That is not to say people who have one career path are not content and happy from beginning to end, but it’s not the kind of life I would have ever been satisfied with. I have always had a thirst for knowledge and experience. I need to feel passionate about what I am doing and if I lose my sense of passion, I find something else to be passionate about. I have one life! I want to experience and be so many different things. How is that wrong? Who is anyone to say it’s wrong?
I live with generalized anxiety disorder, yet I have managed to have an abundance of opportunities. My anxiety has limited some of the things I have wanted to do along the way, but I have never been without a creative alternative or solution. I make sure I am living and breathing passion and excitement about my life all the time.
I have always been able to support myself and my children. I have been a single parent during different time periods through my changing directions. For someone like myself with anxiety, I think it is pretty amazing that I have had so many different experiences. Some people without anxiety are too afraid to choose happiness and passion over what they call security and stability. My zest for life and need to live with joy and purpose is far too great to ever allow myself to feel stuck in something I am not feeling alive from. I am once again in the process of changing directions and love where I am at in life. New goals and dreams emerged last year unexpectidly and has sent me down a path I certainly wouldn’t have been open to had I settled into one career long ago.
One of my favourite books by Mercer Mayer as a child is called “When I Grow Up.” I read this to my preschool group a few years ago. I asked the children to draw pictures of what they wanted to be when they grew up. I was presented with the typical pictures and answers of, a mommy, a firefighter, a teacher, a garbage truck driver, and ballerina. My favourite answer though, came from a little boy who told me, “when I grow up, I just want to be myself.”
And that is what I grew up to be too; myself.
Don’t ever let anyone try to talk you out of doing what makes you happy. Whether that is one career or twenty. To thine own self be true.