Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The Age of Reason

I have a theory that we know what we are meant to be--or want to be--at the age of 7, and then eventually puberty scrambles our brains, leaving us uncertain and confused. We think what we wanted when we were seven wasn't good enough.

I know a priest who knew he wanted to be a priest when he was about seven.

I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was about seven.

What did you want to be when you grew up when you were about seven?

Of course being a mommy counts. You don't even have to ask.

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Update: Those Roman Catholic readers who go to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass may find this post vastly amusing. Other readers of Good Will may not find it as amusing, unless they are Pixies with a very well-developed sense of humour.

30 comments:

Bernadette said...

When I was about that age (or maybe a little older) I decided that I was going to be the first female US Supreme Court judge. This was heavily influenced by reading part of one of my father's books about Brown vs. The Board of Education. Then a family friend gently let me know that Sandra Day O'Connor had beat me to it. So that was the end of that. Apparently I had not desire to actually be a lawyer, just to the first female Supreme Court justice.

Jen said...

I honestly do not remember what I wanted to be at 7.

Pedantic Classicist said...

I wanted to be pope!

But not so much a priest, iirc. Umm, as in Bernadette's case, I may have been unduly influenced by a book; or, rather, a "graphic novel". Has anyone else read the Marvel Comics version (no, I am not making this up) of "The Life of Pope John Paul II"? That was AWESOME. Such adventure! Such faith! Such drama!

Pope JP II: a real life superhero.

Pedantic Classicist said...

...or an astronaut. ;)

(boy, THAT would NOT have worked!)

Sitting Pretty said...

I remember telling my parents around that age that I wanted to be a school bus-driver, because the man who drove ours always seemed so happy. I grew out of the bus-driver part, but I still aspire to be as cheerful as he was at my own occupation!

Elizabeth said...

I wanted to marry a farmer and have 10 children. Or be the first woman president.

Seraphic said...

Okay, so far my theory is being debunked though I am loving the bus driver and the wish to marry a farmer and have 10 children.

I find it significant that little girls want to be the First Woman [position hitherto held by men]; when I was 12 or so I conceived the ambition to be first Woman Canadian Prime Minister. (I was beaten to the punch by the Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell.) I sometimes wonder if it has more to do with being found super-special than with real ambition.

Maggie said...

I believe a teacher and a mommy. Partially correct, as I teach religion, but the mommy part will have to wait, since God doesn't often intentionally make unmarried women mommies (Mary, of course, was engaged, even, and the New Eve, at that.)

Julie said...

I generally wanted to be a writer when I was a kid, or a teacher, and since I'm working toward a PhD I think that's one in favor of your theory.

On a more eccentric note, when I was in kindergarten I decided I wanted to own Texas, because owning a really big state was better than being president of the US, I guess.

Meredith said...

When I was seven I wrote down that I wanted to be a nun. Haven't wanted to be one since - I was just impressed with the sisters who ran our school. I left that school the following year.

What I really wanted to be as a kid was a painter. Or some kind of artist, anyway. But I also wrote poetry, and while my art skills peaked in junior high, my poetry skills kept expanding, so poetry it was.

I don't think I ever fantasized about being a mommy or having kids or even getting married... though I was obsessed with weddings for a while. Mostly I pictured myself as a glamorous single artist (or concert violinist).

Anne-Marie said...

I wanted to be a nurse from about age 4 through 12, puberty got in the way and half way through a history major I remembered, left that university and pursued nursing. I also wanted several sets of twins . . .

NCG said...

I know I wanted to be a fireman when I was very young but then I stopped worrying about it until high school. I think God has to give us a certain amount of grace in order for us to truly discern our vocations (which also takes prayer, etc. on our part) so "knowing" what you are going to be by the time you are seven is pushing it I think.

Anonymous said...

Score one for your theory Seraphic - I very clearly remember wanting to be a nurse at age 7. In fact, at age 8, I wrote a short paragraph stating so & detailing that Florence Nightingale was awesome & that I wanted to be like her.

After completing an undergrad degree in Kinesiology, I realized that I did want to be a nurse after all & went back for my second undergrad degree. And, I am very proud to be an RN! (finally!)

N. Sophia

fifi said...

I wanted passionately to be a ballet dancer, starting at a much younger age than seven. I don't think I had grown out of it by then, though. I also loved to cook at that age. Sadly, I am much to tall to be a professional dancer of any kind (a career obstacle I had no control over, alas) but I still love to cook!

Med School Girl said...

When I was 7, I wanted to be a doctor.
It was a long journey and things have come together in His time, but I am one year away from graduation and the start of residency. It is so easy to start complaining about exams and the other pressures of being a medical student, and so I find it vitally important to sit back now again and reflect on how I'm pursuing my dreams and why this is important to me, despite the hard work. God is good!

SoaringSoprano said...

Here's another point for your theory, Seraphic!

At seven I wanted nothing more than to be a singer and an actress. Of course, then I was thinking more of Hollywood and pop rock; however, I'm now pursuing a career in opera performance and getting along quite well! I've got the acting and the singing part, and thankfully it's much better music and much more fun drama! :D

This doesn't mean that I didn't try out various occupations first... I didn't quite like the starving artist idea... but I love music and can't live without it, or without sharing it with other people. I should have trusted my seven-year-old self from the get-go!

~SS

Larissa L. said...

I wanted to be an archeologist or Captain of the Enterprise - my family watched a lot of Indiana Jones and Star Trek. Alas, I'm allergic to dust and not a big fan of heights.

sciencegirl said...

At seven, I said wanted to be a marine biologist-- but actually that was my parents' suggestion. I'd said I wanted to be a biologist, and I liked whales very much, so naturally they suggested marine biology. But really, with the perspective of age, I remember that my favorite science project up to that point was the time we studied worms and beetles in school. I forced myself to imagine marine biology, but in reality I hated being cold, rather disliked swimming, & thought the ocean was really big & scary. And got seasick every time I went on a boat. And had recurring nightmares involving boats, bridges, and docks. I did always love dirt, though. So I did not become a marine biologist, but a terrestrial biologist.

Also, around the age of 8, I wanted to be a nun -- until my parents suggested I talk to one of the real nuns who worked at the bookstore. They had lovely blue habits with veils, but did they pose dramatically with roses and crucifixes like St Therese in my saint book? NO! They sold books and were very nice. But boring. And not young, ethereal beauties, but normal women. I did not really want to be a nun if it involved anything other than being SAINTLY and having a dramatic WOUND like St Therese had, or better still, proper STIGMATA that didn't hurt so bad, only a tiny bit, but looked very HOLY, and VISIONS of Jesus &/or Mary, all while doing nothing but holding flowers and smiling serenely all the time.

ceciliamschwartz said...

I wanted to be a ballerina at age 7. However, my mom made eggplant parmesan one day and I did not want to eat it. My dad told me that all ballerinas ate eggplant parmesan and if I wanted to be a ballerina I needed to learn to eat it too. I knew then and there I would never be a ballerina because there was no way I would ever eat that stuff!

I have since eaten eggplant parmesan and while I'm not a ballerina, I am a dancer. :)

Domestic Diva said...

I don't remember when I first wanted to be a teacher, but definitely by the age of 7. At 7, my favorite thing to play was school. If I was kept home sick, I put on my Catholic school uniform and made up lessons for myself. I also wanted to be a wife & mom by age 7. I thought that I, like Laura Ingalls, would teach a few years of school before marrying and having children. Well, I'm quite happily a teacher now - half my dreams have come true. Now about that other half...

Bernadette said...

I read that comic book too! It was in the pamphlet rack at the back of the downtown church where my parents took us to 5:15pm daily Mass (the same church where the priest wouldn't give women or girls communion if they were wearing shorts). It was a great comic book!

On the topic of ambitions, when I was a little older (maybe nine or ten) I noticed a pretty nun statue my mother had on a high shelf. I coveted that statue for myself, but when I asked for it, my mother told me that she was saving it to give to the first of her children who had a religious vocation. I did not (and do not) have a religious vocation, but I decided to try telling her that I did to see if she would give me the statue. Alas, she did not give me the statue, but did take to announcing in a loud voice at family parties that I had told her I wanted to be a nun.

dark but fair said...

When I was seven I wanted to be too many things, because to my seven-year old mind, there was nothing contradictory about wanting to be a mother of lots of children, and a nun...and an equestrian, a writer, a singer, and a dancer. But the most important desire of my seven year old heart, was that I prayed to God to make me a saint. That has not changed.

Shiraz said...

I think at seven I wanted to be a ballerina. By nine or ten, I wanted to be an archaeologist. My fourth grade teacher took me aside and asked me what I wanted to be. I said an archaeologist; she looked at me very seriously and told me that I should be a writer. I'll leave it to you to decide who was more right :-)

Seraphic said...

Goodness, how fascinating!

I think I will amend my theory that SOMETIMES you know when you are seven, or at least have a very good clue.

Sciencegirl, thanks for a great example of knowing what you want to do and helpful adults suggesting something else!

When I was about 7, I worked out the mystery of the Trinity, and I told my parents. Without even asking me for the details, they said I hadn't, so I forgot. Isn't that terrible? When children have spiritual and theological (and other important) insights, we should always enquire more closely.

Sciencegirl, you should see some of the almost-teenage Sisters of Life I've seen! Any little girl seeing a 20 year old Sister of Life would demand to join up at once! No stigmata, but definitely sweet!

Susanna said...

At seven I decided I wanted to be a nun. My father obligingly took me to visit a convent - the sisters did not bat an eyelid at the unusual request and were super nice. I remember chatting to one sister and then being taken to see the garden where another sister was standing on TOP of the garden shed hacking back a huge climbing plant. The smile she gave me is unforgettable. Less than 15 years later, after short phases of wanting to be a vet, an archaeologist or a writer (there seem to be recurring themes among us) the dream is becoming a reality :-D

Fritha said...

Wanted to be a Mommy - still do, but it just hasn't happened. Also wanted to be a doctor. As it happened, I am a doctor, just a PhD and not a medic...

Sarah said...

hah! I went through a phase when I was about 11 much like sciencegirl's. I wanted to be a nun, but not the "boring" kind who taught catechism class. It only counted if I were able to either have the stigmata or contract tuberculosis.

I honestly don't remember what I wanted to be at 7. My life goals changed a LOT back then. I did used to simply say I "wanted to be a saint." But, like now, I think some days I was more motivated than others. ;)

Seraphic said...

Susanna: awwwww!

I am so happy for you! I can't get the image of the 7 year old girl looking up at the nun on top of the shed out of my mind.

Goosebumps!

Wine in the Water said...

I started saying that I wanted to be an architect when I started being able to say the word. I went through architecture (and historic preservation) school and now do energy efficiency in buildings (especially old ones). Not bad for a kindergartener I think.

Marie Catherine said...

Hmm. I can't remember what I wanted to be when I was 7....Probably a veterinarian. I loved all of God's creation, and I knew that I wanted to work with it in some way. That dream came and went with age, alternating with an interest in art and interior design. I am interested in so many things! Ultimately, I discovered a love for plants, and I found the balance between design, horticulture, and science in landscape architecture. It is a perfect degree for me because I can use it to show others the wonders of God's creation and bring beauty into their lives. :)