Do you ever occasionally sit back and look at your life, thinking about how you got to where you are now? When you’re younger, you have dreams and plans and ideas. Your goals might only extend to the end of the day, but when people ask you, “What do you want to do when you grow up?”, you have an answer – even if that’s be a pop star, be a footballer, be a ballerina.
And as you grow up, those answers change. I’ve never had a specific career in mind. I’m ruled by things I’m passionate about and I’m notoriously indecisive. It’s funny because I’m partly where I expected to be, and partly not there at all. The one thing that’s been a constant throughout my life is my love of writing, and that’s now my job. I’d estimate I spend 75% of my day writing in some shape or form, whether that’s content generation at work, writing blog posts or just simply writing…because I like doing it.
But there are always the dreams that get pushed to the wayside because life gets in the way. Things you either planned to do, considered doing, or simply assumed would just happen, but they didn’t.
And that’s not a bad thing. Not in the slightest! You can’t do and be everything, especially when you want to do everything like I do. You can’t own your own home, travel the world, have a full time job and do every hobby you love all at the same time – it’s just impossible. And so time passes by and you realise that some dreams haven’t become a reality. Sometimes I worry that the opportunity has passed. It’s difficult to let go of a dream you once had.
But I’m learning to let these worries go, but I thought it might be fun to list them today – not in an “I regret this!” kind of way, more of a “oh, that’s interesting that I didn’t do that” kind of thing! I feel like there should be another post of “Things I did do”, but then again, that’s just this whole blog!
Not taking a gap year and travelling more before getting a full time job
I frequently get what’s known as the “travel blues” – although I’m learning how to shake them off! – and more frequently, the “Disney blues”.
I love travelling. I’ve been really lucky in my life as my parents have taken us on trips around the world and had so many different experiences – from learning to ski in the Alps at places like the Snow School, to exploring the mountains of America and Canada in an RV. The latter is our favourite kind of trip – we’ve done it 4 times and they’re doing another trip without me this summer, boo!
And that’s what’s led me to this point: I can’t travel quite as much as I’d like to because I have a full time job. This year particularly will be difficult because Ben and I have booked a big trip in September for our honeymoon, we’ve had to book off a few days for wedding planning, preparation and meetings, and we’ve now booked a minimoon following the wedding (more on this soon!) as we wanted a little break rather than rushing straight back to work. But sadly, that’s left little time for the other breaks we want to take.
There are so many places in the world that I want to explore: Thailand, Bali, Iceland, Norway, California…the list is endless!
At the time, I didn’t even consider it, but I now wish I’d taken a gap year between school and uni – some time to travel, maybe solo, maybe with others. It didn’t occur to me that it was something I wanted then, and I’m now I’m in a job I love at a place I love, so I wouldn’t even consider leaving just to take time to travel. I know that there will be so many opportunities in future to travel more, but I sometimes think about how this is a thing I didn’t do.
Married at 23 and kids at 25
Did anyone else have ages in their lives that they just thought were the optimum ages for certain things? Growing up, I always had marriage at 23 and first child at 25 in my head. I think it ties into when my parents hit these milestones – although they were younger than this, actually! But hey, I’m 27, getting married this year and no kids yet!
And it’s definitely not a regret. Those ages seem so young to me now. While I could have got married at 23, it might not have been the wedding I’m having now. And I’m pretty sure I wasn’t ready for kids at 25 either. Those years for me have been about building my career and my life. While it might work for others, it wouldn’t have worked for me. And apparently I fit the trend as the average age of marriage has changed significantly over the generations – in 1971, the average age for women to get married was 22.6; now it’s 30.8.
Not going to college in America
When I applied to unis at age 17, I really had very little idea about what I was doing. I was the first in my immediate family to go to uni, so we had absolutely no experience about how the process worked. I literally just ordered prospectuses from unis that offered the course I planned to do (Classics), looked at what they offered and what they looked like, and made some decisions. Even choosing the course I wanted to do – while I absolutely loved studying Classics, I had no idea about the other options that were out there. I simply picked Classics because I loved doing it at school.
At uni, I realised there were far more courses than just the standard school subjects. Obviously I knew that, but some were complete revelations to me. If I was choosing over again, I’d probably stick to Classics but throw some Linguistics and Philology in there too as I love learning about the language more than the culture.
But I also discovered that there were options further afield, like colleges in America.
As I was coming to the end of my degree, I decided I’d like to work in museums, so I applied to and was offered a place on an MA Museum and Artefact Studies course at Durham. One of the things I was so drawn to this course for was that at that time it offered a semester abroad at a college in America, something I’ve always wanted to do since learning about college trips New York. We’d visited a couple of college towns, in fact the very one that this course offered a placement at, and I’d completely and utterly fallen in love with them. I feel like it’s somewhere I belong.
But alas, it was not to be! Instead, not long after I’d been offered that place, I was also recommended by my tutor for a teaching position at a school. I’d debated over teaching previously, so in the end, it sounded like a sensible decision to accept that offer and start on my career rather than spending money on further education and not knowing exactly where I might be able to get a job afterwards.
Not being an author, a ballerina or an archaeologist
And on the theme of career goals – no, I never became a ballerina, an archaeologist or an author, at least…not yet! No, that’s not an announcement – just saying I can still at least have dreams of being a published author at some point, even if ballerina isn’t still on the cards. And it turns out that being an archaeologist isn’t actually as fun as it looks anyway, especially if you’re in the UK and are knee deep in mud in the pouring rain. I’d rather stick to the language side of the Classics I think now, thanks!