Upstream Field Guide: Lesson 4 Your Purpose Exercise 5

Today I need to travel back in time a bit and think about my childhood, around age 6-8. What do I aspire to be when I grow up? This age range is good because I’m young enough not to feel jaded by the realities of life but old enough to consider my real desires and fascinations. Usually answers to such question can be far-fetched but it’s not so much of the specifics but rather what it was that I love about my career choices at that age. Hmm…..

I seriously do not recall a huge chunk of my childhood. I don’t know if it’s because my childhood was rather uneventful or I just have a poor memory. In any case, I don’t think I was very self-aware at that age. I tried asking my mom and siblings but none of them remember what I wanted to be when I was a child. What I do remember is what I fantasized about. I know for certain that I was very hooked on Enid Blyton’s series of fairy tales! I’d save up the allowances that my parents gave me to buy these books. It became an obsession and I look forward to days when I can visit the book store to pick a copy. I spent a lot of my younger days reading them and living in a fantasy world of enchanted forests, gnomes and elves. The stories played out in a very visual way in my mind. I don’t remember making up an imaginary story of my own but I could “see” these stories vividly in my mind as I read them. What I can draw from this memory is that my intuition was pretty active as a child. I am also a highly visual person so I am sensitive to visual stimulation. But all these doesn’t give me clues to what I wanted to be. The closest to an answer to this question is a time, I believe it was towards the end of middle school, that my older brother asked me something along the line of what kind of life do I envision for myself. I remember vaguely that I struggled putting into words a vision of a simple country life surrounded by beauty and living happily ever after, just contented being my own space at my own pace. I remember feeling embarrassed that my brother might find me overly simplistic and unsophisticated. Gosh….how far have I strayed from that vision. My life now is nothing like that. Still, this does not answer the question about vocation. So let me try searching my memory bank a little more.

I remember being part of an unofficial student-initiated cheerleading team and I enjoyed staying back after school for practices. When I moved to middle school, I got excited about participating in a fashion show showcasing traditional cultural costumes. There was also a time when I sang a Boy George song solo in front of class and it freaked me out. I never attempted it ever again! I signed up for external aerobics dance classes with my sister and looked forward to those too. When I think about these seemingly uncharacteristic activities for introverts,  I deduce that they point to a desire for freedom of expression even though I am uncomfortable being in the spotlight. I enjoyed participating as a group rather than solo, perhaps to reduce the discomfort of being the center of attention.

So that’s it. These are the insights I gleaned from this exercise. Can’t wait to get the next one over and done with.




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