What I wanted to be when I grew up vs. Who I am now
When I was 4 or 5, I told people that I wanted to be a teacher, a ballet dancer, and have lots of animals. My dreams at that time were based on what I saw around me: my dad was a teacher and my mom was studying to be one; I was taking ballet; I was allergic to furry animals but loved them.
As I got older, some of my goals changed a bit. In high school, I wanted to be a sternwheeler captain or work on a boat in some capacity. In middle school, I wanted to be an environmentalist/naturalist in the San Juan Islands in Washington state. Another of my dreams was to be a crafter and fabric artist, owning my own shop where people could create art in a community cafe.
Dream 1: Teacher
I did become a teacher, although not in the public school system. After getting my B.A. in Elementary Education, I worked three years in an unrelated field (data entry). I then worked for a few years as a preschool teacher in various places before deciding that wasn't what I wanted to do. Being a nanny appealed to me, but the families I worked for weren't the best matches.
I now teach Scandinavian dance and Norwegian language to children and adults through Sons of Norway, and have for the past four years. It is a perfect match for my talents and personality. I am glad that I achieved this dream, and kept my focus throughout the years.
Dream 2: Ballet dancer
I stayed with ballet into middle school, but then decided not to continue due to health problems. I now use my ballet background when teaching my Scandinavian dance classes.
Dream 3: Lots of animals
I outgrew my furry animal allergy somewhat, and adopted six cats. I also feed the local wildlife (squirrels, birds, feral cats, rabbits, a raccoon and opossum) in the backyard. My love of animals inspires my photography.
Dream 4: Sternwheeler captain or boat crew
I am petite, so this dream was more of a fantasy than something achievable. I still go to the beach every chance I get, to experience the water, wind, tides, and sand. It calms me and gives me peace.
Dream 5: Environmentalist/naturalist
I have built my life around environmentally-friendly practices. I recycle, reuse, and try to reduce the consumables I buy. I have become a vegetarian, although not a totally strict one. I educate myself about new products and trends before I subscribe to them, basing my decisions on long-term effects. I read world news from different sources, not just the local newspaper.
Dream 6: Crafter/fabric artist
I have achieved this goal, although I am still working on it. I am a semi-professional photographer, knitter, and rubber-stamper. I have a small website where I market my crafts and take custom orders, and a CafePress shop. I hope to do more with this when life circumstances permit.
I have also worked at two craft stores, helping others hone their artistic talents. I knit presents and clothes in my free time, sometimes donating them as well.
My dreams, from the very small to the all-encompassing, have guided my life. Believing in them, even when life seemed impossible, has given me focus over the years, and helped me become the person I am today.
Encourage dreams, because they shape the future.