Monday, March 21, 2011

Childhood dreams

Dear Diary,
Today's post is a writing prompt from studio thirty plus, the prompt was "childhood dreams" here are where my thoughts lead me with this prompt.
When I was a child I had the same common dreams that most children have, to grow up to become a veterinarian, a firefighter, an film star or an astronaut. As you probably guessed I am none of these and no longer have the desire to move into any of these career fields. As I got older my career ambitions changed with my interests; with all of my childhood dreams eventually getting lost along the way as life became more about reality rather than fantasy.
As I got older my dreams were less about what I would be doing and more about what my life would be like. I dreamed of growing up and owning a home (which I would layout and build on graph paper). I dreamed of getting married (nothing specific just a lavish wedding to an ambiguous person). I dreamed of having children (no specific number just the right amount to complete our family). I dreamed of having a dog (again not a particular breed, just a loving pet). The problem as time goes by life has a way of progressing whether your life matches your expectations or not. As life goes on I realize these are things society told me I should dream of, these are things that every child is supposed to dream of. What about what I really want in my heart? Why was I never encouraged to explore what was in my heart and let it blossom, why was I given other peoples dreams and told to take them as my own?
As a child you are given things to dream of.
Everyone should want to be a hero or celebrity. What about people who don’t like being the center of attention?
Everyone should want to get married. What about people who fall in love with someone of the same gender?
Everyone should want to have children of their own. What about people who are infertile?
Everyone should want to own a home. What about people who want to move often or don’t want to worry about home repairs?
Everyone should want to have a pet. What are the people who are allergic to animals supposed to do?
Is this really fair to give every child the same expectations for different lives and experiences?  The child me would be very disappointed with the results of my current life, and for quite a while so was the grown-up me. I did not become a celebrity of any kind; I am a faceless office worker who pushes paper, I like that I can act crazy and it doesn’t matter because nobody knows who I am. I am not married; I am in a committed relationship and feel lucky to love SO and know the SO loves me. I do not have children, SO and I love children, we tried to have children and found that a biological child was not the path for us (that is a post for another time). I do not own a home; I rent and right now I relish the fact that if something breaks it is not my problem. I do not have a pet, and I love that I don’t have to clean up after one or find someone to care for it if we want to go out of town.
Does that mean that I never want any of these things? No dreams are fluid they change with life and experience. Eventually I would like to own a home when I’m ready to pick one place and stay there for a while. SO and I would love to foster children and maybe eventually adopt, but life has more to teach us before we feel we are ready to take that step. Will SO and I ever get married, maybe, but right now we have a good, healthy relationship that married couples everywhere should envy (to be honest I’m afraid marriage might ruin the perfection of what we have now).  As for a pet, I love animals, but I do not feel that people should have ownership of other animals.
The point of this is children will always dream of what society tells them they should want. Society needs to change what we tell children. Children should dream of being happy. Children should dream of feeling unconditional love from their future partner. Children should dream of their love being accepted and appreciated for what it is. Children should dream of a career where they feel excited to go to work. Children should dream of all the other wonderful things that are in their hearts. If a child has a love of space, then let them dream of being an astronaut, but don’t tell them that all children should want to be astronauts. If a child loves to dance, then let them dream of being a ballerina, but don’t tell them that all children should want to be ballerinas. Some kids are afraid of the dark, and some kids are not graceful. Some children dream of a faceless job where they excel. Some children dream of someone to love them so much they will not worry about marriage. Some children dream of being an average person that blends into the majority. Some children don’t know what they dream, but when they find their dream they just know.
Looking back, I was a combination of those last few. Society would not accept my dream so I dreamed the dreams I was told I should dream, but I followed the dream that was in my heart. I can’t say that my life is perfect or that I don’t dream that things will change, but I can say my life is pretty good. To others my life might look more like a nightmare than a dream, sometimes it looks that way to me too. I just know that when I really think about the things I was told to dream, I know they couldn’t have made me any happier than I am now, and in some cases those dreams caused me a lot of pain.
Well that was rather long, and personal. I don't know if this is where I thought I would go with this when I started writting it, but hopfuly by exploring these thoughts I have learned something about myself and the expectations put on my by society verses the expectations I put on myself. Always something more to ponder...
Until next time,

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