The Deadline for Dreams
When we were kids, we were always asked, “What would you like to be when you grow up?” Do you remember what your answer was? How about now, are you what you wanted to be?
A Child’s Dream
Before I entered kindergarten, I’ve always wanted to become a teacher.Why? My father was a foreman in a construction site and his projects were mainly churches and schools back then. I remember peeking through the windows in a kindergarten classroom where my father was working. They were studying about plants and the teacher asked the kids to go out and get as many kinds of leaves as they can. It looked so fun and I thought the teacher was cool.I dreamed to go to that same school but it turned out, it was a private school, one we couldn’t afford. So I promised myself to become a teacher and make fun lessons to kids who can’t afford expensive education.
The Next Dream; A Discovery
I went to a government-run elementary school where there were more kids that I’ve imagined. I was a shy kid,easily scared and barely talked unless asked first. For some reasons, I was a bit favored by my teacher.Maybe she felt sorry for me being a really timid girl with only one friend, a childhood-neighbor friend whom I’ve known my whole life. My teacher took special care of me, talking to me when nobody else did. She discovered that I had a penchant for books so she casually brought books from the library and gave them to me to read while the others are outside, playing and running around.
Not long after I moved to the second grade, my first grade adviser continued to approach me, coaxing me to share some conversation with her. I slowly warmed up to her, trusted her more than anyone in the school. She asked me to meet her on my free time and read for her.She found out that I could read much faster that the other kids and that my comprehension was way more advanced according to her. She urged me to write some summaries or even my own version of the stories I’ve read. I happily obliged. Finally, I had something to do during my free time. I spent most of my time either at my first grade teacher’s desk writing or at the library, perusing on more books or re-reading stories.I am quite sure I’ve read all the children’s books in the library at that time.
And to my surprise, my teacher asked me one day. She said I need to go and write something.I didn’t have to worry that much.Just do what I’ve always done when writing stories. It turned out, it was a provincial-wide journalism contest. I joined three categories without knowing; editorial, feature and news writing. I remember writing about my father as the person I look up to the most in the feature category. I won on feature and news categories. It qualified me to go the nationwide level. It took us 3 days on the sea to reach the place of the competition. I was dazed and almost unconscious due to sea sickness, but I still entered the top 10 in news writing. That was when I dreamed of becoming a journalist or a writer. I felt like it suited my personality better. I didn’t need to interact with so many people and I could work with my own thoughts.
I was consistently joining writing competitions since then; the only co-curricular activity that interested me and I ever joined.I was always in-charge of the script when we had school presentations, too. My teachers said I could venture into creative writing. I did it as my passion, not for anything else. In university, I became the editor-in-chief for consecutive years, unrivaled I heard. It became clear to me that writing suited me most. My dream of becoming a teacher vanished just like that; ideals replaced by passion.
Dreams; Of Growing Up and Changes of Heart
But why am I not a journalist now? Well, the university nearby didn’t offer any journalism course. As simple as that. I couldn’t afford to go to a university far from home. Who said money can’t buy happiness? I would have been much happier had we had money to send me to a bigger school.
As I grew older and became more aware of the social issues, I longed to become a lawyer. I was and still am into legal thrillers, I mean novels, so the sound of being a prosecutor debating inside a courtroom sounded appealing and challenging. But again, it’s way more expensive than my previous dreams. So why did I end up teaching after all?
Honestly, I have no idea why I ended up as a teacher albeit informally. I took Bachelor of Arts majoring in English Language and Literature.I love English so much that I settled for it since it is quite related to writing and reading and yeah, teaching, too. I completed enough units in the university to qualify me to take the Licensure exam to become a teacher and it can allow me to teach in high school or even university. I received offers to teach in the university I graduated from but I declined. I thought I wasn’t qualified enough to educate at an advanced level. I wanted to venture somewhere else and try my luck out there. It is safe to say, I settled for what was easy back at that time. As long as I earn money, I had no desire to go further. I became more and more pragmatic as I see the realities and struggles of life.
The Present and the Future
Do I have regrets? When I lie awake late at night, I often have such thoughts. What if I dreamed bigger?aimed further?worked harder? So many ‘what if’s’? Recently, there are so many that interests me such as learning a new language, taking up another course such as Architecture or Engineering or even Music. I have no talents in those but it is nice to think about it. Is it too late to dream? I’ve chosen my path and I have to live with it. Learning is a lifetime process they say, but me getting a formal education and going to an actual school is difficult. Having two kids and being a single mother, my top priorities are definitely my kids. I love my children to death, but I can’t help thinking about my own aspirations as well. Maybe someday, when I find the time and the resources, I won’t think twice to try. Self-improvement isn’t time-bound, no due dates, no limits after all.
Have you ever put off a dream?Why? Have you tried re-living them? If you could go back and start over again, would you do things differently? Would you try a different path? Do you have some ‘What if’s?’
By the way,do you remember the school I mentioned earlier in this article?the one my father helped to build?Where I started to dream to become a teacher? That’s where my kids go now. In a way, it’s a dream come true for me.But the church that was also my father’s project? it was where my sisters got married, the same church where my older sister was laid when she passed away too early. It has and will always be a huge part of our lives.