When I was in primary three I remember writing a piece about what I wanted to be when I grew up – a rock star was my answer. I drew a picture of myself with pink spiky hair and a black leather jacket. Yes I sing in a band but it’s not quite Wembley is it? And there several other ambitions or dreams I had when I was at school that looking back I seemed to want to achieve in the creative field – radio being one area I would have loved to do, stand up comedy, writing a mystery novel and writing songs/music. I’ve dabbled in most of these but only in small doses. Looking at the list it does appear that I wanted to be known; to be a well-known person, but I don’t know why that is. The irony is that I would probably hate eyes on me everywhere I went or the clamour of strangers to get to know me.
Now I’m thirty-six and I’ve been out of school for half my life and career-wise I’m still now where I thought I’d be. My personal life is better than I imagined with Jill and the kids but day-to-day I feel I’m not quite ticking the boxes. The new job is just settling in at the moment so I’ve no idea if it will be a good fit or just another experience – only time will tell. There’s a line in the song “Sunscreen” by Baz Luhrmann from 1999 that goes “Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.” I’m only four years off the top end and not knowing what I want to do might appear to be a good thing but in reality I’m not so sure – well not when you’ve a mortgage to pay and mouths to feed.
I’ve taken a huge risk by jumping from a secure occupation with decent wages and the chance of progress and the reaction of many people has been surprise – you can see in their eyes that they think you’ve made a mistake. Maybe I have but to leave a job that made me ill and I grew to despise was the only sensible option. Maybe taking other risks with some of my childhood creative list is worth a roll of the dice on. Could I write that book? Put together a ten minute stand up set? Write a few original songs? I could, but there’s the part of me that’s worried that those once held ambitions would only end in a let down. Mind you it’s the same fear I faced this year going back on stage doing “Avenue Q” and I survived that.
Mid Life Crisis? Don’t know what you’re taking about – but there is the thought in my mind that I’m probably – hopefully – halfway through life and if I don’t start ticking ambitions off my list now then I’ll reach old age with regrets and that’s not where I want to be. Life deals you a hand and you have to play it. No passing; you’re all in. For the first time since 2005 I have options and time, two things that I have not had the luxury of and maybe it’s carpe diem time. Not for fame and fortune because we can all agree that that is not in my future – but achievement and reaching goals is and if I don’t try then I’ll only have myself to blame.
So there were two nuns in a bath…