It is a funny thing, we are asked this question so many times as a child and it all depended on the moment that we were asked what we would respond. For some of us, it was always the same thing but for others it was constantly being adjusted.
My dream as a young child was to be a performer (singing, dancing, acting) it really did not matter what it was, I just wanted to perform, have an audience and allow them to experience emotions, from laughter & joy to sadness and anger. To really dive deep into these emotions and allow them to be expressed. My mind about my life’s goals changed over the years many times but it was always part of my soul that I wanted to help people in some way.
When I was 15 I had the idea I wanted to become a Doctor because I was good in school and enjoyed learning. I thought it was the road to take in order to help people. What we don’t see at that age is there are so many professions out there to help others. I believed that being a Doctor was where I needed to be too fulfill my life’s mission.
Doctors, nurses, police officers, fire fighters, psychologists, counsellors, therapists (in all different avenues), life coach, etc. The list really does go on in terms of helpers in any given community. When I realized at the age of 19 that being a Doctor was not really the avenue I wanted to go, I kind of stumbled across 911 operator. I thought this is something I could do. I can type quickly, I am good at multi tasking, and I am a very compassionate and loving person with a desire to help people. I enrolled in a College program Emergency Telecommunications it was a new course to help identify this as a career and shorten the time spent training. It takes 6-10 months to be fully trained at a 911 centre because there is so much to learn. You have to become familiar with policies and protocols for dealing with specific types of calls and how to appropriately respond.
I did this job for 6 years until finally the feeling of overwhelm became too much to bare. Always hearing the worst possible scenarios, listening to people on their worst days, and the negativity that surrounded me felt like I was slowly drowning with no one to help or even recognize that it was happening – except me. Finally making some decisions for myself I cut myself off from the negativity. My thought was it was the best way out of the anxiety I was feeling in my life. In reality I was simply running away from the very thing I needed to face in order to get better. In order to process certain events it requires us to live them over and over again, until finally they no longer trigger an emotional response but instead become simply a memory. We have to sit with our emotions in the beginning, even when they are difficult and overwhelming. The reason being is that if we ever want to learn from our difficulties and allow ourselves to move on we have to put the event behind us.
After being off work for months, I slowly gained momentum a little bit at a time, energy started to return, as well as my inner glow. With the help of a psychologist I now have 85% good days. Good days means I manage to surface from my house and explore the world without letting the fear of something bad happening stop me. There are still days when there is nothing more I want to do than stay in bed, it is part of my illness. I have learned to accept that fact, however sometimes I push myself to get out and sometimes I have to honour what my mind needs. I believe the reason I stay in bed and refuse to emerge is because I eventually become overstimulated and need a day away from everything to refill my empty cup. To process some of the current life or death situations in my life. I made some outstanding realizations since being off work. I am strong, independent, and have more resilience now than I did 6 years ago. I also feel more empowered to make choices that are right for me despite what everyone else around me might need or want. I used to simply do things for others because I wanted to help, but unfortunately it took a toll on me. Another realisation was that when I looked around there was not one person whose life I wanted? There was no one in there who seemed content with the life they lived, that I could say wow that person is truly happy, and enjoys what they do.
So now at the age of 27 I am being faced with that question again, what do I want to be when I grow up?
To be completely honest I do not know, the only answer I have for that question is happy. For me happy means traveling, spending time with people I love, teaching and doing yoga, and surrounding myself with people fulfilling their life goals through their life’s purpose. It also means that I find my life’s purpose – to help others in a way only I am capable. What that means yet I do not know but I will not stop searching for my answer. I will continue to do what I can with what I am given and be grateful for the chance to find my happiness.