When I was a kid at school, it was very usual to be asked “what would you like to be when you grow up?” The answer was always one of several things. Sometimes I wanted to be a teacher. That was a fairly normal ambition for a kid in school. I saw teachers every day at school and the teaching profession was one I was in touch with, by virtue of the fact that I went to school. Other times, I’d say I wanted to be a writer. Of course I didn’t become either of those things. Not initially, anyway. There was one journalism course that I picked up leaflets for, but there was only twenty places available on it and apparently hundreds of applicants. For an applicant with less confidence, there was no chance of admission. Not at that stage. Becoming a teacher meant going to university and financially it just wasn’t possible for me at that time.
So I did this extremely dull, monotonous, repetitive course in shorthand and typing and ended up becoming a receptionist. I was one of the slowest students in my class and the last one to achieve working speeds. Strangely enough, when I applied for a job as a shorthand typist at the Embassy of India in Dublin three years after leaving secretarial school, I had no problem getting the job because I was one of the few applicants who actually knew shorthand. The Ambassador really wanted a typist who knew shorthand. That was because I used to practice it an odd time. Really. Some of my friends at secretarial school reached shorthand speeds of 120 words per minute, but a few years later, they couldn’t remember a word of shorthand. They told me so.
Strangely enough, learning touch typing was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I would never have picked up typing speed by myself. I was very slow to pick up the typing speed and took probably twice as long as anyone else in my batch, but that’s why it was so important for me to learn it. Yes. In a school. With, would you believe it, manual typewriters? I feel really lucky that I learned touch typing that way. It was great discipline. I’m very fast now and I am sure I’m as good as any of those typing champions in my class back then.
Strangely enough, I did become a teacher. For a while. When my youngest child joined the nursery school, the principal asked me to join too. She felt I’d be an asset to the school because I’m a native English speaker. Well, she was partly right, I suppose. It’s such a pity that the other teachers didn’t agree with her. They thought I was an upstart, thinking I was better than them. No way were they going to let this foreigner tell them how to improve their pronunciation. One day I overheard the teacher in the next classroom telling her students about how Goldilocks went into the three bears’ cottage and found three ‘bowels’ of porridge. I nearly choked with laughter. I tried to tell that teacher later (as tactfully as possible of course) that it was bowls, not ‘bowels’ of porridge. She smiled and said nothing. The next day I heard her telling the same story loud and clear to her class. And yes, it was still three ‘bowels’ of porridge. I never offered any pronunciation advice again.
Ultimately, I had to leave teaching because it wasn’t very satisfying. My interaction with little ones is not so good. I’m fine with my own kids, but I would have preferred to interact with older children if I was to continue teaching.
As for becoming a writer, the internet couldn’t have come along at a better time. Nowadays, I write blog posts and interview authors. I’m a consultant editor and I write pieces for magazines, fiction and non-fiction. Sometimes I even get published in print and get paid for it too. I also review books and I get terrific payment. Free books, what more could I want? I also write novels, but I have a long way to go before I produce anything fit to publish in that area. Sometimes I dream up plots and play around with them for a while. It’s fun.
Another dream of mine was to (yes, very boring) get married and have kids. That took ages too, because I went and found myself a man of a different culture and religion and there were lots of factors to consider which all took time. but I got what I wanted in the end.
I suppose the truth is that even if your dreams don’t come true initially, it doesn’t mean that they won’t eventually. The main thing is not to give in to disappointment too easily. Because you never know what’s around the corner as you go through life.
This is my weekly post for my blogging group, the Loose Blogging Consortium. We post weekly (usually simultaneously) on a given topic and visit each other to see the different takes we have on the same topic. We are, in alphabetical order, Anu, Delirious, Rummuser, Grannymar, Maxi, Magpie, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, Paul, The Old Fossil, Shackman and Will. If you have time, please visit my friends too. The topic 'My Dreams And How I've Fulfilled Them' was given by Maria the Silver Fox.