When I grow up, I want to be.......
As a child, did you dream of what you would be when you grew up? Did you want to become an astronaut or a movie star? Did you aspire to be a doctor or a nurse..... or maybe it was a circus clown? Did you realize your dreams or were there expectations placed on you by others for something different ?
With so many changes taking place this year, it has been a time for a lot of self-reflection. Thinking back to when I was a small child, I wanted to grow up to swim with whales and dolphins. I didn't care about the science or the research. I was much too young to think about that; my desire was only to swim with creatures that fascinated me. Beyond that, I was never a child who had huge aspirations for anything specific, except in my child's mind, I wanted to "help people". I didn't even know what that meant exactly. On the other hand, my brother knew from a very young age that he wanted to work in the news department. He wanted to be the next Walter Cronkite. He walked around with a little Fisher Price tape recorder for years. I am extremely proud to say that at the ripe old age of 16, he got into the news buiness and remains there today, working for ABC in Los Angeles.
I've often wondered as an adult if I have been successful. I've questioned whether there was something missing because I didn't have aspirations to do the so-called "huge" things or because I couldn't define what I wanted to be by a specific career or role. I have felt insecurities at times based on others' perceptions of me because of those things. Sometimes I even felt as though I had somehow let people down. However, yesterday I saw a quote that resonated with me on a very deep level. Perhaps it could even be said that this has been my life's "mission statement".
"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down "happy". They told me I didn’t understand the assignment. I told them they didn’t understand life." ~John Lennon
When I read that quote, it was like someone was speaking from my soul. You see, I will probably never be a CEO or a famous actress. I will probably never have millions of dollars or a mansion on a hill. I have held jobs that some would never consider and I have sometimes lived in ways that make me appear simple. I am far different than I am perceived, however, the perception of others no longer weighs on me.
I have been present and watched countless numbers of people taking their last breath; moving from this life to whatever awaits in their personal eternity. I have held their hands, listened to their last words, their wishes, their sorrows, and their regrets. How ironic, that in death, life becomes clear. The things that become crystal clear when you are staring death in the face are those things a lot of people may have perceived as trivial previously; i.e. spending time enjoying the beauty of nature, the giggles of a child, the unconditional love of a pet, and the time spent with family and friends. You don't hear people speak of how much money they have in the bank, or how proud they are that they are the CEO of a corporation, or how nice that car in the driveway looks.
I'm about as far from perfect as one can get, but when I look at myself through my OWN eyes and not through others, I see someone who has been a big success. I've held roles that were meaningful and truly helped society, but my greatest success is that I am happy and I have helped PEOPLE. I got to be exactly what I wanted as a "grown up".
Have you become what you wanted to be when you grew up ??