It’s fairly common and normal for our childhood goals to fall by the wayside as we grow older. It becomes impractical or over simplified. One of the dreams I had as a child was to become a LEGO © engineer. I still have the largest collection of LEGOs of any adult I know, but it was only one of many childhood declarations that became a faded memory. On the other hand I had more dreams than anyone else I knew.
When I was little I didn’t dream of being an artist. I was an artist already. I dreamed of living in my grandmother’s house and going to art school 2 blocks away. I dreamed of being a published author of my own fantasy novels. There were specific books, Amazonia was my first one, then Eye Fever, which I later renamed “Earthlings.” My mom and I used to talk about the stories I saw all the time. As a small child I dreamed of being a priest until I was informed that there were no female priests in the Catholic Church, but I could become a nun. I didn’t want to be a nun though, and was pretty upset to learn I would never be a Catholic priest.
There were some dreams that I had, which came true early on in life and it surprised me. I wanted my artwork to hang in the Virginia Museum of Fine Art… that happened when I was 16. I wanted to be immortalized as an artist. There is a brick with my name on it engraved in the sidewalks of Richmond, Virginia for being an outstanding artist in the tri-cities area. I wanted to have my art published. It was published in Virginia Writing, a national literary magazine. I was surprised that these things happened so quickly.
High school ended and one of my dreams was dashed on my father’s unreasonable need to keep his financial information to himself. I couldn’t apply for the many scholarships I was eligible for because he refused to fill out the forms. He made it without college and so he was sure that I could as well. He didn’t want me to ruin my life being in debt like my uncle.(my uncle was never able to repay his loans for art school) One dream of going to art school met with this very harsh reality that I could do nothing about until I was either married or 23 years of age.
So reality has a way of changing these younger dreams or dashing them altogether. But there are many people who have dreams that are attainable… going to the Olympics, becoming a singer, going to school, etc. But what happens after that?
Just because I couldn’t become a priest in the Catholic Church didn’t mean that I couldn’t become a pagan priestess. I still felt that spiritual calling. Time passed and I got old enough to fill out my own financial aid forms. After moving to Colorado, I eventually went back to school. I now have a degree in Psychology with minors in Art and Theater. Now the world has changed and anyone can self publish through the internet. I have no doubts that the stories I began in childhood now have a real chance of being not only read, but bought on the internet. I already have four poetry books published and listed on Amazon.
It took me a long time to remember that being an artist was one of my childhood dreams. For a while I equated it with going to school. My life after I fulfilled my dreams when I was sixteen was not given any new hopes or aspirations as an artist. It took going to school as an adult and being exposed to new ideas in general to rediscover what I did want as a grown-up.
New experiences led me to both chalk art and bodypainting. Now I have more dreams as an artist than I have had since I was a teenager. Sometimes life happens not as we imagined it when we were kids, but in the end, I found that the attitude of discovery like a child was a good thing to carry forward as an adult. It gave me new dreams. What are yours?