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What I Wanted to Be When I Grew Up

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Scrolling through my Spectrum TV Package the other day, I chanced upon a show where several showbiz celebrities were discussing their childhood aspirations – from which this blog post is inspired

No matter how vigorously some people may choose to deny the fact, all of us have some deeply-set childhood aspirations which we hope to realize during our adult years. These may range from our preferred vocations (our natural calling), the cuisines or cultures we may like to experience, to the places which we might want to visit for thrill-seeking or information-seeking purposes; by way of some notable examples.

In this post, I’ll be talking mainly about what I professionally yearned to be while growing up, and once I came to discover the myriad of income-generating roles that one is safely allowed to adopt in society.

I had always wanted to become a physician, but due to a series of not-so-unfortunate events, life intervened and transpired to turn me into a writer instead.

My immediate source of inspiration for this blog came from a TV show that I chanced to watch on my Spectrum Cable Company recently, in which a bunch of Hollywood celebrities gave probing interviews on their early career aspirations. Many of them related how they had always wanted to perform onstage & onscreen ever since they first became aware of the medium of television, and how their initial want had ultimately evolved into a deep-rooted need for the public recognition of their craft.

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At the tender age that I once was at, it was hard for me to imagine that one’s career ambitions (which happen to fall under the purview of one’s innate skills-set) can often diverge in striking ways from what life actually ushers in when budgetary requirements & expenses have to be inevitably met.

Many of us have to contend with career choices that our hearts & minds might never fully agree with, and in doing so, we may invariably lose some of the sparks that differentiates us from others and provides us with the impetus for carrying on further with our daily share of fate’s vicissitudes. Life then becomes a chore and a seemingly endless struggle that sucks the joy and vibrancy out of everything. In such conditions, an individual is reduced (or at least this is how his/her perspective is shaped) to being a robotic automaton – one devoid of much purpose other than the spontaneous pursuit of a monotonous work routine.

Such a state of mind is particularly disastrous for someone involved in the creative professions of singing, dancing, writing, painting or filmmaking (and a host of other similar occupations that require fresh artistic input & originality). For the arts, as well as the sciences to an extent, redundancy and repetition soon becomes an anathema, and the continuous practitioner of already used forms of creative models considered a cheat. In such professional disciplines, a daily slew of innovatory ideas practically ensures further employment.

The reason why I’ve chosen to make mention of these axiomatic points here is that I’ve witnessed the suffering inflicted by a clash between career choices and actual work manifestations on a person quite up-close in my personal life.

Both my parents were singers, with advanced music and art degrees. After their young elopement, they struggled to sing in bars, clubs and sports arenas (and even a proper production studio) to make ends meet. They hoped to capture the attention of a record label, but after repeated auditions in front of scores of media executives (most of whom judged their performances disfavorably); soon decided to call it quits. And so one became a stock broker, and the other a middle school arts teacher. Their dream was clearly not destined to take flight.

Still, during family gatherings and other functions, their natural signing talent (even if it remains as yet unrecognized) surreptitiously makes its way through – and we all delight in the glow of two souls striving to make their skills known to the world.

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My obsession with being a medical doctor was similar, and it bordered close to my parent’s ambitions to become professional country music icons. But I failed in this passionate endeavour of mine – though not for a lack of studying & trying.

Even though I managed to make it to my high school’s dean’s list, the scholarship arrangement offered to me still proved insufficient to meet my expected collegiate expenses. Applying for a student loan was not an option, since my family’s credit rating happened to be devastatingly poor. And so, due to an endemic breed of financial insufficiency, I was forced to let go off my dream too.

Even though my many writing ventures have cumulatively brought a great degree of economic security to my life (I have managed to cross out a majority share of the future wishes listed on my memorized childhood bucket list), there are still times when I feel the familiar longing to take up an imaginary role in a hospital or dispensary somewhere.

And I don’t think that’s ever going to go away – no matter what I do now!

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