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Monday, 28 March 2016

Why can't I dream big?

From a young age, I was the type of child to think about what I wanted to be when I grew up. At first it was a vet, like most children I suspect, as I had a love for animals and all creatures of the earth. But soon, I grew out of that dream, and moved on to another one. My mum did a psychology degree, so my next dream was to be a psychologist. And when I had exhausted that idea, I decided I wanted to be a lawyer. I settled on being a lawyer and for the next year or so, thought about all the things I would do once I had my degree. When people asked me what type of lawyer I wanted to be, and I didn't know, they told me to go into corporate law, because that is where the money is. So that summer, I did a week of work experience in a corporate law firm, and was extremely bored. At 16 I decided law wasn't for me, and began to search for something else to reach for.

Luckily for me, only a few months later, I began to fall in love with writing, and discovered that I'd rather do something that I love every day for the rest of my life, than something that was big and corporate but made a lot of money. Writing makes me feel fulfilled, it makes me feel happy and it also makes me feel like I'm making a difference. 

So when people asked me what I want to do when I'm older, I responded happily and confidently that I want to be a published author. This was when I began to notice that the response to my career aspirations were usually met with raised eyebrows, condescending concern and some sort of ill thought out advice. The most common response I get is something like "Well I hope you'll be the next J K Rowling because otherwise you won't be very successful." I love J K Rowling and I am very much part of the Harry Potter Fandom, so my point next should not be taken as a criticism of her unbelievable talent and hard work. 

But it is comments like this that make me believe that as a society our definition of success has changed so significantly. Rather than measure success in how much of an impact one makes in the world, we measure success in how much money a person makes. Now, I'm not naive enough to believe that money doesn't play a role in our lives, but I do genuinely believe that we should not let money be the indicator for how successful we are. 

When I tell people I want to be a published author, the follow up question is usually about what I want to publish. When I respond by saying that I want to write things that change the world, people have lost me all together. But why can't I dream big? Why can't I write something that changes the world, and publish things that change the way we think. Why can't I use my skill to do something good instead of just thinking about how much I am going to earn? Because when I talk about writing, I mean writing to educate. Writing to educate people around me about things that go on that aren't spoken about enough. Writing to bring awareness and writing to change the way we think so that we are more tolerant and accepting and happy with who we are. 

So the answer is that I can dream big. I can change the world with my writing, even if it's just my world. I don't have to be motivated by money, and nor do you, if you don't want to. It's going to be a darn sight harder to make it big in this world, but then again is that what really matters? 

Maybe I will be the next J K Rowling, but on the very large chance that I'm not, all I want to know is that I can still dream big and change the world with my writing, regardless of the number in my bank account. 

LF, LR and MG xx