I must have been five or six years old when I received as a gift a nurse kit for kids, which was including a stethoscope, a syringe with a plastic needle, and a white nurse hat. I loved it to bits. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I answered without a doubt that I wanted to be a nurse. I liked the idea of caring for others and making them feel better.
But prior to receiving the nurse kit, I had had a different view about what I wanted to become when I grew older. I was actually enjoying reciting poems in front of the video camera or on the stage at the kindergarden. I was also enjoying singing and playing in the kindergarden’s end of year play. Before switching to becoming a nurse, I had initially wanted to become an actress. I loved to be part of a story and play a role and I was putting all my energy and artistic abilities (for that age) to perform. But then I decided to become a nurse. I am not sure why. I cannot remember. Perhaps I adapted my choices according to the facial expressions of my parents, when hearing my answers. Who knows?
Later on, during the first years of my primary school, I was asked by my grandfather what I wanted to become when I grew up. Candidely, I replied that I wanted to become a kindergarden teacher. I loved being around kids and playing with them. My aunt was a kindergarden teacher and she was a model for me. My grandfather objected. His answer implied that being a kindergarden teacher wouldn’t have been a good enough profession for me and that he was expecting a lot more from me. I was capable of a lot more. I agreed, as he probably knew better than me. I was just a child who wanted to be loved. That day I gave up my dream to become a kindergarden teacher, in exhange for acceptance.
And last but not least, this is me, around one year old, holding a fountain pen. I liked fountain pens a lot. And today I am still using fountain pens.
Childhood dreams – doors towards more meaning
Why am I sharing this? Because all the things that you used to like doing as a child or the things that you dreamed of doing when you would grow up are doors towards feelings of contentment, satisfaction, pleasure and, why not, happiness. Your childhood dreams could also bring more meaning to your life, be it professional or personal, should you allow yourself the time to reflect.
As an adult, I did not become a nurse, an actress or an artist. Nor a kindergarden teacher. Initially I chose to study a domain that I thought would be approved by my parents. In high school it was a complete hassle for me to study IT programming and mathematics, which were the main subjects, adding up to even up to 10 hours a week per subject. However, my favourite subjects were literature, psychology and philosophy. They had nothing in common with the specialisation chosen in high school.
And guess what, as an adult, I worked as a project manager in… IT. I was far from my childhood dreams. Then a burn-out occured, together with a wide range of other health challenges. Little by little, I started to question my choices and to get in touch with my inner-child. I did a great deal of self-reflection and inner-work, ranging from psychotherapy, to self-help reading, and coaching. I explored how the « then and there » of the past was relevant for « the here and now » of the present and what messages were being brought. And little by little I started to make new choices.
Your inner child, a source for meaning and happiness
As a little girl I wanted to become an actress and an artist. Today I am using these « acting » and artistic talents whenever I facilitate laughter yoga sessions. I also used them in the rare occasions when I was on a (real) stage, performing a flamenco choreography at the end of year show. And last year, just for fun, I took a theatre improvisation course, simply because I wanted to explore something my theater side.
As a little girl I wanted to become a nurse, to care for people and help them to feel beter. And this little girl’s wish has fueled my choice to reconvert to coaching, which is an indirect way to care and support people in order to help themselves and their dreams.
As a little girl I wanted to become a kindergarden teacher. Well, as you probably have figured it out, I have not become a kindergarden teacher, although I did take it into account when I was reflecting which path my career should take. Nevertheless, each one of us has a child within and adult learning can become a lot more fun when using ludo-pedagogy – basically a learning technique that includes more fun. Have I mentioned that I followed a train-the-trainer training and that I love including serious games in my workshop and training facilitation?
What about the fountain pens? Well, today I am a bit of a writer too, am I not?
And how about you? What did you want to become when you grew up? What childhood dreams did you have? And what would be a first step in getting closer to those dreams?