Today I had a lovely lunch with my Mum, Dad, sister and nephew - a rare treat because we all live in polar suburbs of Sydney and we don't get to spend as much time with each other as I'd like. Another reason we don't see each other often is because of everyone's work commitments. My family are hard working. My Mum and Dad have worked hard every day since time began, in fact they have the strongest work ethic of anyone I know.
When I think of my parents in old age, I cannot imagine them not working.
Today at lunch they made an announcement that they plan to retire in twelve months time. I wasn't floored, in fact I was quite thrilled for me...... (cough cough) I mean for them. All I could see were opportunities, and rewards for a life of remaining loyal to organisations and rarely taking sick days or extended holidays.
I begged them to build a mansion on the beach in Northern NSW. I fantasised about spending weeks over Christmas in my parents beach side mansion at Byron or Ballina. Weeks in a beach side mansion............They'll most likely think of an acreage and farm somewhere that my dad can drive his ride on lawnmower and mum can decorate to her hearts content.
I took the opportunity to ask them a really important question.
What did you want to be as a kid?
My dad didn't even have to think about this question, he said all he wanted to do was drive since he was nine years old. Of course he was too young at nine to drive a car, but he found the means to find a way to be driving a car by the time he was eleven. That's ambitious! He hasn't made a living out of driving, but I'm sure he has managed to drive every single day of his life since he was eleven or twelve years old. He was always proud of his cars, he changed them every couple of years when I was growing up. I also remember him driving trucks when I was little. He now drives tractors.
My sister took a little more time to think about it and then said she wanted to be a nurse. She studied nursing many years ago, but didn't go into nursing. Its a shame because I know she would have made a really fantastic one. She is caring, organised, sensible and someone who I know I would want to be looking after me if I were ill or injured. I asked if her career took a turn for the worse would she consider retraining to become a nurse. She didn't even have to think twice to say "No" because the changes in that industry are so significant that there are no motivating factors for going into nursing.
Tonight at a party I asked my new best friends around the table what they thought they were going to be when they grew up.
Sally also said she wanted to go into nursing when she was a teenager. At sixteen she had accompanied her mother into the hospital and was in awe of the women who looked after the patients. She was met by the matron who dissuaded her by telling her she was too young. I don't know Sally well enough to say that she would have made a good nurse, but she went on to tell me about her career changes throughout her 20's and 30's and how much she enjoys being a successful podiatrist in Sydney today. She too said if the situation changed, she would never consider going into nursing now, but given the fact she is in her 60's might have a lot to do with that.
Mark wanted to be an architect. He was sitting at a part of the table where I couldn't quite hear the reasons of background to this, but I have known him for a few years and followed his career through many highs and some lows. Mark became a businessman and interior designer and from the work I have seen of his - he really has found his place in life. His contracts are in the hospitality field; I have been in pubs and restaurants admiring the decor only to be advised at a later stage that Marks firm had designed it. Mark is a talented designer. (he kind of followed his childhood dream because I don't think they had interior designers when Mark was growing up).
My husband said he wanted to be an engineer, but only because he thought it would lead to travelling to distant lands building bridges and buildings. Instead, he is the founder of an IT firm which specialises in the publishing and advertising industries. My husband is an entrepreneur, and we make it part of our life to travel on a regular basis. So he too also found a way to live out some of his childhood dreams.
So this leads to me thinking about what I wanted to be when I was growing up.
I wanted to be a mum and a wife. Tick.
I wanted to be an air hostess. Not anymore since my years of travelling and being a demanding passenger.
I too wanted to be an architect. I designed so many of my own houses in my head as a child, but in reality a 6 story cascading swimming pool in my dream home wasn't going to eventuate. No builder in his right mind would ever build something like that.
I wanted to be a police woman until I saw the training regime.
I wanted to travel. Everywhere and all the time.
I wanted to be a writer. Really only for the fame and overseas book tours - review point above.
I wanted to be a designer. A successful one who only ever wears my own designs. After all, Barbie looked great in them. She also didn't have an opinion.
I wanted to work in an office. As the CEO.
So now I find myself in a cross roads of my career - and I have been given the most amazing opportunity of being anything I want to be. As an adult, I have the luxury of life experience and skills behind me. As a redundee and wife with a supportive husband, I also have the financial backing to grasp at a dream. Or two.
It's a really tough choice, but after careful elimination of strenuous or dangerous professions, I think I might combine a few of my passions and dreams and become a high end fashion travel writer who only ever goes to remote and exotic lands. Wearing my own designs of course!
This is my dad. The driver.