When I Grow Up …

The last few days we have had a group of 2nd and 3rd year university design students come to Katanning to work on a school project.

They are looking at our Town Hall and our Leisure Centre and doing some redesigns. The Town Hall is being redeveloped into an Entertainment Centre and the Leisure Centre is getting two multi-purpose spaces – a gymnastics room out the back and a seniors/meeting space out the front – designed. We won’t necessarily use their designs, but they will certainly be worth looking at, as they have a very fresh perspective of the space that we might not have, since we are attached to our own ideas.

I got to be their ‘client’ and gave them a tour of the Leisure Centre, described potential uses for the spaces, problems and solutions I could think of and answered some of their very interesting questions. It was a really fun project, and I can’t wait to see their design ideas, which will be on display on Friday.

I think I had double the fun working with them because when I was in high school I briefly considered going to university to study architecture (I got 110% in drafting in year 10, and had done half the year 11 work already. I loved drafting!). Of course, at that time, in grade 10 and 11 when I was thinking about it, architecture was a 6 year program, and to me 6 years seemed a LIFETIME and so I chose something else, something shorter. I sometimes wonder if that was silly of me. I didn’t even consider looking at just drafting or interior design as a stepping stone to architecture. I wanted the title and prestige of ‘architect’ or nothing at all! (Hey, I was 16… I wasn’t renown for thinking things through…)

That got me thinking about some of the other things I wanted to be ‘when I grew up.’ Here’s a by-no-means-complete list of things I wanted to do, from when I was young, and even some others from much more recently:

  • Mama's don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys...

    A cowboy – because cowboys are way cooler than cowgirls; they get to do all the tough and dirty stuff and the girls only get to do barrel racing and that’s pretty much it. Too boring! I wanted to chase cows and do ranch work. Actually, I still miss cows, and I miss being a horse person.

  • A veterinarian – but then I realised I really didn’t want to have to deal with sick animals all the time, and that putting an animal down would nearly kill me.
  • A cattery/dog kennel/horse boarding facility owner – quite recently I considered this type of work, and I still think I would quite enjoy it.
  • Taking that a step further, or perhaps taking a step back, I, in fact, would quite love to be a farmer, even though we all know there’s no money in farming.
  • A city planner – an extension of my desire to be an architect and interior designer, because buildings need to sit in a larger space that needs to be planned sensibly. Design really is something I love. I always use my imagination in a space and renovate in my mind.
  • In that same ‘design’ stream of thought, I wanted to ‘flip houses’ for a living. I wanted to learn how to build, fix, renovate and maintain, and just take on project after project! I wanted to be Norm Abram and Mike Holmes!
  • After doing the Blackwood Marathon and getting so into the training, I wanted to do specialty training for people also interested in doing multi-leg marathons, triathlons, and so on. That idea kept growing until it included a bed & breakfast style specialty retreat with coaching, training, physical therapy, nutrition, and natural medicine therapies… the full meal deal! Of course, now I can barely make myself go for a run, so I don’t know why anyone else would listen to me when I suggest they go for a run 🙂
  • Sovereign Hill, Ballarat, NSW or Dream Town?

    The piece-de-resistance, I had a plan, once upon a time, to own a resort. An amazing place that I would design, decorate and manage. The theme was a working ‘Old West’ town, where people would come in, and live in the 1800s. A step back in time. As the owner of this place, I could be all the things above. I would not only own a business full of buildings of my own design, but I would farm, ranch, breed horses, raise cattle and animals, grow feed, provide riding lessons, allow people to bring their pets. There would be a hotel, and farm-stay type accommodation, and I would organise activities, outings, special events. There would be swimming, and rodeos, catering… the list goes on.

Because I realised I would never be able to afford such a dream, I decided I would work in the recreation industry, thus my current degree in Leisure & Recreation (so I think I still made a sensible decision based upon my dreams and passions). My original plan was to work on a cruise ship until I became fairly established as an entertainment director, then work my way through resorts, and maybe, in the process, I would end up working in a place like my Dream Town, or even rubbing elbows with the right people who would be able to partner with me to make those kinds of dreams a reality.

Things went a very different way, obviously, and although I have no serious regrets about where I ended up, I do get a little misty-eyed and ‘far off’ when I think about Dream Town and how that one place somehow allowed me to exercise all the interests I had, and let me be everything I wanted to be.

What childhood dreams did you have? Have you ever thought of a dramatic change of career? Gone back to school to study something new?

Possibly Related Posts: “Dream Job, Real Job, Passion, Calling” and “Where Did My Try Go?


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