When I Grow Up

One of my last posts has created quite a pleasant debate started by Sunday, which then moved on Pattylafiacca‘s blog. They offered great advice around my indecision to stay or to go, or better, about what shall I do when I go. Patty then had the great idea to throw me a challenge: to jump on the first time-machine stopping at the platform I’m standing on and go back to meet again my young, little self: when everything was possible, when there were no limits nor rules and life was a game. Patty wanted me to go back and rescue that little girl who dreamed with open eyes at all times and see if there was a little bit that I could bring back to today. She asked me to think and put down all the things I wanted to do and I dreamed of as a kid.

She gave me two weeks initially, but I was having fun and everyday on the time machine I could see myself dreaming about something different. It has been a hard task too and sad, somehow: it is incredible to see how many broken dreams you can collect in a lifetime. The list I’ve compiled is long but I’m also  sure I’ve missed some of my dreams, probably lost in life’s unexpected turns and ups and downs. I want to thank pattylafiacca here, because her “funny little game” forced me to think about the missed, forgotten, dusted dreams I once had. Thank you for making me feel again that Anything is possible. Just like when we were kids.

Here is what I came up with, I hope you will find it as amusing as I did when i recollected all my childhood’s dreams. I also pushed myself forward to try to remember why I didn’t follow with those dreams and why I forgot about them. So you will find the “jobs” and the reasons why I’ve moved on from them.
  • Ballet dancer: I loved those tiny, delicate, sinuous bodies creating dreamy romance on stage. But my mum thought the dance school was too expensive so instead she sent me to the local authority’s gymnastic school. She told me it was the same. It wasn’t and thanks mum, because of you I know have more muscles than a football player!
  • Pianist: Piano lessons were also too expensive for my parents. I never learnt to play, but a few years ago I had the opportunity to touch the keyboard of one and unexpectedly, I felt like crying. I know it’s cheesy, but I recalled in that moment of my dream to create wonderful music with my fingers. I’ve promised myself that one day I will learn, I won’t become the next Einaudi probably, but I’ll be happy to touch that keyboard again and listen to the tune I’ll play
  • Actress: As a child I was in love with Barbara De Rossi, and I wanted to become like her. I think I was maybe 12/13 and I started buying CIAK, a monthly movie magazine in Italy that had a section for auditions and acting academies, I was planning to leave my village and go to Rome to attend the Acting Academy (Accademia Nazionale d’Arte Drammatica). At school, as part of the “Arts Course” we had a once-famous actress turned director, teaching us to play on stage. One day she stopped me at the end of the lesson to tell me one of the best things anyone told me in my life. She said: “You have a natural talent, you are born to be million different persons, you are born to act.” That evening at dinner,  I told my parents what happened and about my decision to go to Rome and join an acting school, and they started laughing. They said to concentrate on my studies and forget about movies and television. It hurt. So much. Probably I should have expected that reaction and go to that audition where my application had actually already been accepted. But I didn’t, I did what they told me to do: I forgot about movies and becoming an actress. I stopped buying my favourite magazine. I stopped playing with the school troupe. I even stopped watching movies because it was painful.
  • Detective: when I was still dreaming about becoming an actress, as I said, I was watching million movies and one of my favourite actresses was Jodie Foster, mainly for her supreme performance in the The Silence of the Lambs  (a movie I’ve seen more than 30 times!). That movie pushed me to dream about something else: I wanted to investigate on crimes and murders, following mad killers, putting my life at risk and then find out who was to blame.But I had to drop this idea off pretty quickly: I can’t handle blood or horrific scenes. Once I fainted when I procured myself a micro-cut!! End of the brave detective dream.
  • Barrister: this was one of the most long-lasting (and probably more realistic) dreams I had which I still dream of now. But like for piano and dance school, money got in the way and I knew I couldn’t afford to pay for my studies and live at my parents house for 5 (or even 6, 7, 8…10?) years before qualifying as a layer. There, my practical decision to attend a 3 years degree in Economics, which I nicknamed my Ticket to Freedom. I might actually study law one day, never say never, isn’t it
  • Judge: ditto,  the journey was going to be even longer than the above and I had to “get out as quickly as possible”
  • Psychologist: same as above
  • Psychiatric: ditto
  • Open a Stationary shop – I always loved stationary, I’m still obsessed with all those small, colourful, useless pens, pads, pencils, notebook, notepad, memo pad, scratch pad… and when I stop in one of those amazing shops here in London,  I always end up spending at least a good couple of hours and probably over £30 in stuff I don’t really need but I LOVE. I can resist less to those than, let’s say, a pair of shoes or a bag. I know, I’m mad, but it’s an addiction!
  • Police woman: in between the same reason why I gave up detective and partially because I thought there wasn’t enough crime in my small, residential village and I was going to get bored.
  • Journalist/War correspondent: inspired by Oriana Fallaci‘s books, which I started reading very young, I wanted to follow her path and experience as well as report the truth about wars around the world, but also in poor countries. Writing was (is) my biggest passion. It has aways been. But I was scared, I was affected by the typical Italian fear of struggling to find a job. As I said above, for the pragmatism’s sake, I choose the safest (and hardest) option: Economics, the must-have degree in Italy to be taken seriously by ANY company.
  • Doctor, Architect, Nurse, Interior Designer : as above, either because there was too much blood involved or it took too long to become one
  • Prime minister: yeah, I know, I know..
  • Reader (yes, you read it right. I wanted to be someone who read books out aloud for other people all day long). My family and friends used to laugh at me, telling me that “that wasn’t a job”. I then found out that actually reading (and editing and choosing) books all day WAS actually a job I could aim for
  • Librarian: this is now my when-I-retire-dream. When I was a child and later, a teenager I used to spend hours and days at the local library, reading of course, but also admiring books on the shelves, critising the order or suggesting new potential sub-sections to the people working there. They used to hate me of course, but I used to love spending time there, making notes of new releases, authors or best sellers. Oh, as per my own personal library, I still use the same scrappy notepad which contains ALL the books I read since January 2000! The list is quite impressively long.
  • Photographer. Still dreaming about it. Constantly. Daily. Passionately.
  • Writer. Still dreaming about it. Constantly. Daily. Passionately.

And so, we are at the end of this interesting exercise which took my mind off things for a few weeks.

I’ve jumped back into painful, faded and funny memories, thanks to Patty & Sunday. Now, I know what I’ve lost but I also know what I don’t want to lose again: the ability to dream again, without worrying if I’ll make it or not. Maybe I even managed to rescue some of the courage I had, the one that all children have: to imagine them as invincible creatures.

But, most importantly, putting EVERYTHING on the table made me realise that there is ONE or TWO little dreams that have never really faded or grew pale, not for a second of any day in my last 28 years (or since I can remember).

It is like now I can really see what I want.

It’s like now.. I know.

Yes, now I know.