Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Peter Pan Never Had To Grow Up...

I find that children, especially boys, tend to choose what they want to be when they grow up from a fairly limited selection; a footballer, a fireman, a policeman perhaps. Among the girls at my school were budding teachers, nurses and dancers. Other children have a talent that stands out and helps define their ambition; Allison had her art and Lauren, I imagine, was busy making music. And then there was Tom, bucking the trend, weighing the pros and cons of all the jobs the world had to offer. I knew what I wanted, and I wanted to be a button designer. *

I was very young when I decided this. I had raided my mum's sewing kit and claimed all of the spare buttons for my future business ventures. I had so many ideas, such hope, but it wasn't long before the cruel mockery I faced from my dad and my brother shattered my dream.

From that day forward, I drifted from one profession to another; from weatherman to vet, from radio DJ to archaeologist. Each idea lasted roughly a month before I got bored and moved on. Things interested me, and vague plans fluttered around briefly, but nothing stood the test of time. Was it a lack of ambition? A lack of talent? I don't think so; there were things that I was good at, and there were things I wanted to achieve. The problem was that I didn't think about it enough, mostly due to my tendency to drift off into a fantasy world at any given opportunity. I spent most of my youth in a bubble, far removed from grim reality.

My mind wandered constantly to more colourful and fantastical places. I remember taking an atlas from downstairs into my room and leaving it open on the floor, on a page about deserts. And then jumping on it. You see I'd just read [a fictional story] about a boy who could travel through pictures in books. Unsurprisingly, it didn't work. I remained in my room, standing on a book, breaking its spine. At that moment, I think, reality caught up with me. I stopped looking in wardrobes for secret passages to other worlds, and began thinking about what I would do with myself, in this world, when I grew up. Only nothing else seemed as much fun.

Lauren, over to you my American friend.

* If you think that's bad, my brother wanted to be a zebra. I blame our parents.


  1. The world just doesn't have enough button designers in it. Did your brother ever end up becoming a zebra?

  2. Oh Little Top hatted Tom, running his button empire - I love it! But I find it interesting that the brother that shattered that dream had an even more ridiculous ambition! I'd say you have awesome parents for letting you be creative. Too many parents are so matter-of-fact these days. I say let kids be kids :)

  3. How adorable are you and your top hat? AND your perfectly clasped hands!

    Which one is the book about the boy who travels through pictures?! I think I read it too! (And of course, Narnia! I used to hide in wardrobes all the time.. and eventually gave up).

    Interestingly, though. You help other kids have dreams about cool kid things, right? What with being in publishing children's books and stuff!

  4. Haha. THAT is wonderful.

    I was steadfast that I could fly when I was little. I would jump off couches and chairs and be continuously disappointed. This was balanced out by my wanting to be a lawyer when I was young. Strange, strange child.

  5. Little Tom in a top hat who wants to be a button designer? That is beyond adorable. :D

  6. God, I completely forgot to reply to everyone. I'm crap!

    @ Jay - no, my brother is still human, with a lack of stripes. His dream did not, unfortunately, come to fruition. He works in an office rather than gallopping around the Serengeti.

    @ Allison - my brother was aided by my dad, who I think only encouraged my early button-themed ambitions so he'd have ammunition to embarrass me with for the rest of my life. Seriously - he would think that far ahead.

    @ Risha - you know, I can't remember what book it was for the life of me. Which is a shame, because it obviously effected me in a very deep way. Haha. Glad to hear you tried to find Narnia too, it makes me feel less gullible.

    @ Rachel - can I just say that I really like the full stop after your name? Sets you out from the crowd so it does. You should have combined the two, and put all your efforts into becoming a Flying Lawyer - any case, any where. You could have specialised in international disputes over airspace, or something.

    @ Lauren - You're right, I am beyond adorable. I'm joking. I was a nightmare child, I was like Damian. I shudder to think of how much of an arse I was when I was little - the top hat and shy smile hides a monster I tell you! Don't be taken in!