We’re all used to October being a month of change, with leaves changing colour and clocks turning back, but for me this month heralds an even bigger transformation than usual: I’m giving up my part-time day job to write full-time.
I’m very excited at this prospect. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child, when I remember being made to read to the whole of my infants’ school a story that I’d written about a witch.
I’m slightly embarrassed to have taken nearly half a century to achieve my childhood dream, but according to an informal survey I’ve just conducted, I’m actually ahead of the game. Although my friends remember their early career ambitions, few have yet to fulfil them.
Which is probably just as well, or the world would be overcrowded with ballet dancers, gymnasts, engine drivers and airline pilots. The good news is that there would also be plenty of air hostesses to look after the pilots, and enough hairdressers to keep them all well groomed.
Some of my friends’ ambitions were less predictable. Libi, for example, planned to be either a nun or a stripper, whereas Norio was torn between a fashion designer and “a digger of wells in Africa”.
Sam’s objective was admirably broad: “I wanted to be everything.” Cleverly, she has achieved her aim, at least by proxy: she became a careers advisor.
But even Sam’s ambitious plan was trumped by my friend Lucienne’s.
“I wanted to be the Queen,” she confessed. “I am very disappointed that I am merely a writer.”
Well, that’s put me in my place!
With thanks to everyone who took part in this survey: Jo, Liz, Jacky, 2 x Jackies, Kate, Claudia, Jade, Jo, Craig, James, 2 x Sandras, Libi, Letty, Liz, Simone, Sam, Lorraine, Norio, Sue, Charlotte, Beth, Maurice, Stephen, Cindy, Sara, Debbie, Jim, Corrina, Susannah, 2 x Louise, Beverley, plus lots of others who did go on to become writers even if it wasn’t their childhood ambition: Helena Mallett, Joanne Phillips, Catriona Troth, Lindsay Stanberry Flynn, Christine Nolfi, Linda Gillard, Bart van Goethem, Peter St John, Stuart MacAllister, Darlene Elizabeth Williams, Dinah Reed, Anna Belfrage, Caz Greenham, Bobbie Coelho, Carol Edgerley & Alison Morton!
(This article first appeared in the Hawkesbury Parish News, October 2013)