Did you fulfill your childhood dreams?

I’ve always been a big dreamer. When I was a child I was certain I could do or be anything. I assumed once you reached adulthood, the sky was the limit – you can do whatever you want. I’m sure many of us felt that way as kids. I was in a rush to grow up and start my amazing life. My life hasn’t turned out the way I had planned, but that’s not necessarily bad. I want to share with you some of my childhood dreams.

I wanted to be a musician and artist.

The arts have played an important part in my life and recovery, and I’m happy to say I work in the arts. After high school, I went to music school but ended up dropping out. It was quite a blow to my self-esteem but it set me on a path to really focus on visual art and writing. The arts have taken many different forms in my life and the best part is I get to share them with my daughter.

I wanted to live in New York City.

Now I prefer to stay far away from NYC – or any big city for that matter. I’ve visited NYC a few times and it feels like a different planet compared to where I’m from. I used to think big cities were exciting but now they just send my anxiety through the roof. 

I wanted children but I didn’t want to get married.

As you can imagine, in my small conservative town it was a bit scandalous for a kid to say they wanted children but didn’t want to get married. The funny part is that it took me a long time to figure out why adults found it upsetting. I didn’t see a problem with it because my dad was a single parent. 

I was going to kick ass in college. I would breeze through – no problem!

It was such a big deal for me to go to college. I had my mind set on it from a very young age. There was just no question – after high school, I would move away and go to a university. I had no idea that mental illness would derail my plans and I was absolutely heartbroken when it did. It wasn’t a complete loss though – in my 30s I went to community college and got an associate’s degree in commercial art. 

There were many more dreams but those were the big ones. I assumed my plans would fall into place without even a hiccup. I’ve faced a lot of adversity but I’ve had just as much opportunity and success. My life doesn’t look anything like I thought it would, but for the first time, I feel I am right where I need to be.

Now it’s your turn – I want to read your childhood dreams! Did any of them come true?


  1. says

    At one point, very young, I wanted to be a New York City garbageman. It looked so fun to hang on the side of the truck and jump on and off, effortlessly hurling large amounts of stuff into the maw of the machine.

    At another, I wanted to be retired by 40 and move to Paris, France, to spend the rest of my time on earth wandering around in museums and gardens. I retired at 57, so I was off. And now living in Paris is so expensive that it’s only possible for brief vacations or very rich people.

    I thought that being in love and getting married would be a big deal. It was, once, and maybe even twice, but eventually I realized it’s just a big process of winding oneself up over something fairly normal that ought to be understood as a matter of course for humans. I’m not saying it’s not a big deal, but it’s not particularly special.

    I wanted to have a dog, someday. And I had 2, who it turns out were the best teachers I ever had. Unfortunately, they don’t live as long as we do, so I’ll miss them for the remaining years of my life.

  2. sonofrojblake says

    I didn’t want to get married or have children. I wanted a girlfriend (or if I actually thought about it, a succession of them – serial monogamist, no overlaps). I wanted a car that worked – nothing flash, purely function. I wanted a job that paid enough to buy toys and equipment for my hobbies, was located close enough to the places I could do those activities (i.e. the beach (for windsurfing) and the mountains (for climbing and hiking)) that I could look out the window, see the weather was right, and either knock off work or not go in in the first place. The job would also ideally be interesting and stimulating and varied. I wanted a house of my own big enough to store all my gear and to accommodate visiting friends, and the thousands of books I’d need.
    Substitute kitesurfing for windsurfing, and paragliding for climbing – and I got everything. And then when I got it I looked at my married-with-kids friends and realised what I’d got, while it was a lifestyle many would envy, was quite (for want of a less poncy term) spiritually unfulfilling. And when I came to the realisation, at 44, that I now wanted to settle down and have kids, I had to wait almost two months before my next door neighbour texted me and asked if she and her colleague could kip in my spare rooms after a Christmas night out. I said yes, of course… and her colleague is now my wife and the mother of my two boys.
    I am the luckiest person I know.

  3. StonedRanger says

    I only had one dream as a child. To not die from the abuse I suffered at the hands of my father. There was no escape from it. After a fashion, I made it out alive.

  4. Katydid says

    I just recalled that when my oldest was 3, he wanted to grow up to be an action figure. I’m almost certain he hasn’t done that.

  5. says

    When I was a kid, I wanted to be a) a biologist or b) a pilot. I guess I fulfilled half my dreams! OK, more than half, since I also married my high school sweetheart.

    I suppose it’s not too late to learn to fly except that becoming (a) meant never having enough money to afford flight lessons, let alone a plane.

  6. brightmoon says

    Not really , my parents were narcissistic over controlling bullies and I unfortunately was intelligent and creative. I liked to dance , they squashed that . I like science, they wanted me to be a doctor and wouldn’t take no for an answer. . That wasn’t going to happen, I’m a sensitive and couldn’t handle that milieu. I like to draw and paint . They squashed that by constantly destroying my work. As an adult on my own I do dance ballet and create art but that underlying fear is still there . So I rarely show it to people . It’s only in my mid 60s that I started to dance in public again. I’m pleasantly surprised that I can still do those splits and high kicks

  7. brightmoon says

    PZ go learn to fly!!!! My oldest always wanted to do it and with his first job out of high school he paid for flying lessons . Go for it!

  8. maggie says

    Not all of them, but most of them were not realistic. However, my dream to have a horse of my own was actually fulfilled, several times and many of the choices I made with regards to employment and lifestyle made that dream possible. Had I followed my other childhood dreams, none of that would have happened. I wouldn’t change a thing.

  9. Oggie: Mathom says

    I wanted to be a cartographer when I was around eight or ten years old or so. Much of my career in the NPS involved making maps for publications. Including the first (and so far only) map of the NPS site in which I worked.

    I wanted to be a paleontologist. And I read every book in the Flagstaff public library about dinosaurs. All of the books (the most recent was published the year I was born 1966) described dinos as dead ends and we knew everything about them. Today, though I am not a paleontologist, I am very well-read in the subject and have about thirty shelf feet devoted to my paleo books (which run from the Cambrian to the most recent ice age).

    I spent some time wanting to be computer engineer. I was good at the math, but it bored me. Worse, I could not visualizer what the numbers were telling me. So I switched my college major (and my college) and studied modern military history (1600s to present). And got a job as a public historian/cultural interpreter with the NPS. And have loved almost all of it.

    My childhood dreams did not come true. However, I have very few regrets in my life and, had I to do it over again (from age 13 on), I would make very few changes. I have things about which I never dreamed — a wonderful wife, two great adult children, twin 3 1/2 year old toddlers (no, I am NOT wrapped around their little fingers), and the time to enjoy my wife and grandchildren.

  10. John Morales says

    I’m not normal; I had no particular childhood dreams or aspirations.

    I mean, I’d get asked things like “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and have to come up with answers (much like I had to come up with “sins” when I went to confession), and so I’d answer something that sounded cool to me… Astronaut, I think was a common one. But really, I didn’t dream of anything much.

    Over the years, I suppose I’ve settled for a comfortable life without particular deprivations. Not much of an aspiration, but one I’ve achieved, such as it is.

    (A bit like the issue of what gives my life purpose or meaning: I can’t see why it should have any purpose or meaning, it just is. Not that I have a problem with others feeling such needs — but they clearly are not a necessity since I do without thm)

  11. antaresrichard says

    Me? I saw myself an artist, only one seemingly cursed by mediocrity, like some Shafferian Salieri* (the latter is my patron saint) to behold the artistic and intellectual brilliance of others. I suffer from a lifelong dysthymic disorder, and it’s doing the talking right now.

    I am glad however, despite my disappointments, I never strayed from my core value: to be true.

    That is to say I’m still an artist, a misfit, and a “butterfly”†.


    *Coincidentally, the wig salesman from scene 44’s “Why don’t I have three heads?!” – ‘Amadeus’ (1984) – was my former hairstylist friend of thirty seven years. His association with the film (he was also the assistant makeup person) is the reason for my greater exposure to that particular portrayal of Antonio Salieri.

    †Character Alice Swallow’s parting assessment of David Huxley in the 1938 screwball comedy ‘Bringing Up Baby’.

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