When I was younger I thought I could fly. I thought if I jumped high enough and flapped my arms fast enough, I could take flight and soar through the sky. I thought I could fly, until my parents told me I couldn’t, until the world told me I couldn’t.
When we were younger, we had such big dreams. We believed we were invincible and our desires reflected that. We had wings when we were small, and as we got older, the world gradually clipped more and more of those wings. I remember when I was a little girl, I wanted to be so many different things. I was a girly girl, so Barbie dolls were a staple. I used to make clothes for them, cut their hair and so, I wanted to be a fashion designer or a stylist (not sure if I knew what a stylist was, but I wanted to play dress up for a living). Somewhere along the line, I changed and wanted to be a chef, this was probably around the time I started helping daddy in the kitchen. A simple thing as stirring the pot or sprinkling some sugar, sparked some desire to create food and experiment in the kitchen. Then I decided I wanted to be a teacher, I would line up my stuffed animals, write nonsense on my blackboard, and sternly scold my toys for not doing the right thing. I believe next on the list was a pilot, for the simple reason that I thought it was cool. Flying a plane, you really can’t get much cooler than that.
As I got older, childhood innocence was replaced with scepticism. Suddenly, I became aware of money. Having fun, loving what I do, creating, dreaming, were no longer necessities; money and status were. Conversations about the future started to revolve around one thing- money. What would make the most money? What is the safe choice? What would guarantee me the biggest pay check? Now instead of chasing dreams and passion, I’m chasing a pay check.
I’m not doubting the importance of money. But maybe if those before us didn’t place such an importance on money, things would be different for us now. Maybe now, the money makers would be more than just the doctors, lawyers or engineers. Maybe creatives would stand a chance. I can’t say for sure what would happen, and unfortunately, time machines haven’t been invented yet so we cannot go back in time to change anything.
By constantly holding certain jobs in such high esteem, we’ve created a cycle, which keeps these jobs as elite and profitable while other fields are still seen as less important and those who don’t fall into those three jobs are condemned to wander about, discontent and lost. One of my cousins recently had to choose subjects for form 4. She really wanted to do Art and Music, she was pretty good in those two subjects but her parents strongly objected, so now she’s doing sciences…and absolutely hating it. Her parents meant well, but in the long run, did they really help her? Now I’m not saying that everyone who becomes a doctor or engineer is a sell-out, nor am I trying to belittle those jobs. I know there are those who genuinely love those jobs. My father for example absolutely loves engineering, he loves science, he loves numbers but even his wings were clipped at some point. Maybe somewhere along the line, he thought he could build a time machine that we so desperately need right now, but society told him, don’t waste your time on fanciful project, get a wife and a job that will earn you enough to support your family.
Now, our generation is realising that there is more out there than just the normal jobs. We are realising that money is not the only thing. We are trying to figure out what our passions are, what sets our hearts ablaze. But even in doing this, we still tether ourselves to a safe choice. For example, someone may say, “I’m going to be a criminal lawyer instead of a corporate lawyer, and those around would be in shock.” “What a risk!” they would say, “are you sure?” Can we really re-grow wings that were clipped years ago? Although we are trying to find a passion, we still have those normal jobs lurking in the back of our minds. I know some people who say they plan to chase their real dreams, but yet still they have a safety net. First, they have to do some degree just in case the dream doesn’t pan out. Some may say this is smart, but it could also be dangerous. These safety nets lure you into complacency and you sacrifice your dream for an 8-4 with health benefits. I love to see people around my age take risks and just do what they want to do and luckily, some have supportive families which help to foster this. But not all of us are blessed enough to have such a support system and it is honestly harder to fly, when people are tying you down. Can our generation be the much needed change for how society views jobs? Think about this- if your wings were never clipped, how far would you have flown?