There’s a great scene in the movie “Love & Basketball” that truly captures how I’ve been feeling lately.
It’s been several years out of college for once childhood sweethearts Monica and Quincy. They are neighbors and both used to be pro-basketball players until a series of events changed their lives. Monica has stopped playing basketball and now works at the bank with her father. Quincy watches her in amusement as she steps out of the car in a suit, thoroughly uncomfortable in her heels.
Quincy: I still can’t believe you don’t ball anymore. I don’t know any other girl who didn’t love the game as much as you did. Even more so than I did.
Monica: It’s a trip, you know? When you’re a kid, you see the life you want. And it never crosses your mind that it’s not gonna turn out that way.
When I was a kid, I dreamt big. There wasn’t a filter, a tiny voice that questioned whether something was “realistic” or “practical” or “paid the bills.” All I had was my ambition and the freedom to pursue any thought that struck an inspirational chord. My future career aspirations covered a spectrum of professions: the first Vietnamese-American critically acclaimed reporter with her own TV special, cartoonist & animator for Disney, secret agent for the CIA, photographer, wife of Prince William, Broadway actress or independent film star, fashion designer, etc.
Sadly enough, the more I progressed through school, the more I realized how difficult it was to make a livelihood doing something that you love. Very few are lucky enough to merge their passions with a dream job. And others just pursue what they love and hope that success will soon follow.
I have such admiration for those individuals. It takes a lot of guts not to play it safe. And after being in college and grad school for 6 years with a steady paying job for the past 2 years, I’m starting to wonder if risk-taking is the way to go. It’s been a struggle to get myself into a pure state of even asking myself: What do I want in the next few years? What would make me happy? I miss being able to confidently answer such questions with ease as I did as a kid. No inhibitions or doubt.
I won’t be leaving my job to join the CIA anytime soon, but I do plan on revisiting my buried aspirations. Hopefully there, I may find some clues to answer the big question: What do I want to be when I grow up?
I’d love to hear what others’ childhood dream jobs were! Any steps closer to making it happen? 🙂