What we want to do

I’ve been thinking about childhood dreams. We all wanted to be something, do something or own something. A lot of kids want to be firemen or construction workers or Power Rangers. But those dreams evolve. It’s because different things become important to us — interests, money, fame, respect and so on.

But why do those things become important to us? One reason, I’m sure, is that we get wiser; we realize we need certain things, like money or security. But I wonder if sometimes our dreams and interests shift because of our fears and failures.

As a kid, I wanted pretty badly to be an artist. Or more accurately, I wanted to be a pastel doodler. I was pretty good, too. One time my art teacher had a gallery showing, and she wanted to put my painting of a fish on the cover of the pamphlet. But at the last second, she changed her mind and put someone else’s picture on the front. I thought it meant I wasn’t good enough. Over the years, I also got the idea that artists aren’t taken seriously — that they dabble in the frosting, not in the cake. Eventually I shifted to writing because I guess that’s more serious. Teachers assign books, not paintings.

I guess all this is to wonder how much the evolution of dreams is affected by our need to appease those around us — to avoid embarrassment or to gain respect. I always hear about people who made it big. They always say something like, “Everyone thought I was crazy.” Thing is, if you don’t redeem yourself, they still think you’re crazy. Maybe that’s OK, though.

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