Growing up and even in my 20s I used to believe that I could tackle things and instantly be fabulous at them. I remember wanting to be a scientist, that will be interesting I thought, and then I realised I wasn't as naturally gifted as I thought I was (ie I couldn't be a scientist without a lot of hard work and I didn't really like numbers all that much). Then I remember thinking that skiing would be nice, then I realised that there was a lot of snow involved and it was quite cold and I that I fell over. A lot.
I also remember thinking that I would be a truly wonderful mother. In reality, I try, but I'm definitely not as good as I thought I would be.
I was a mixture of naive and arrogant. I always wanted to be naturally talented or gifted at something, anything. I'm still waiting to find that talent or gift, somehow I think I might be waiting a long time.
Recently, I started a creative writing course online, it's really interesting and I'm enjoying using my brain in a different way, but I'm not as good as I thought I would be at it. Not that I was expecting to jot down a few paragraphs and be hailed the next Virginia Woolf or something, I just thought I would be writing a little better than I am. It's a good reminder that, as with anything, you only get as much out of it as you put into and few of us are genuinely 'talented'. For the vast majority of the population, hard work is always required to succeed at anything.
I've never longed to write a novel, despite being told time and time again that I should. This course has made me believe even more that I probably never will write a long piece of fiction. It has, however, made me think more and more about writing something else. Not fiction, I'm not sure what. A memoir perhaps? Would anyone want to read that?
So far, my career has found me rather than the other way round. I studied journalism because I wasn't sure what else to do and some friends told me that I would be good at it. Then while I was studying I found writing feature stories was something that 'fit', that I could do without much struggle. I was then very lucky to get a job and then another and had a career in magazines that last more than 10 years. I was lucky as about only a quarter of my journalism class ended up as working journalists.
At the time I enjoyed working in magazines and I don't think there was any other career that would've fit, but it never felt like it was what I 'should' be doing. I've worked with people who devoured it, loved it, were passionate about it, that was never me. It all felt a little like a fluke, that I was pinching someone else's dream.
People keep asking me when I'll go back to it. There are lots of opportunities to work over here, but that time has passed for me. I keep a look out for that next, unexpected opportunity. It, of course, would be easier if I had a passion and knew what to look for or what to work towards. I'm optimistic that it will appear in front of me or tap me on the shoulder or I'll fall into it. I always find that it's things you've never thought about or dreamt about that can become your passions, so it's important to be open to anything.
How bloody blessed am I that I have an opportunity to look for a dream? How lofty is that? As I type, I have a lovely lady cleaning my home for me. She's working hard to support her two children. Beautiful children, she tells me, who she hasn't seen in two years. Two years! She tells me she's 'bad' and can't help but call them every day. I'm sure her dream would be just to tuck her kids into bed every night, see their faces as they tell her about their day. I hope that she can do that some time soon.
That's the things about living here in Dubai. There are people here living big, crazy dreams. Others who just want to put food on the table and give their family a chance at a good life. It's being inspired to live a dream, yet always remembering how blessed you are just to be able to watch your kids grow up. I'm hoping the key is being able to balance both.
Do you live your passion? Did you fall into a career or did you chase a dream? I'd love to hear about it.