Monday, 7 May 2012

Hopes and Dreams

I was out of the office sick for all of last week, and spent some time chatting with an old friend to keep myself occupied.  (It gets really boring being home when you'd normally be at work.)  She told me about how she had recently run into a former peer of hers from her elementary school.  It had been about 20 years since she'd last seen him.  She remarked on how surprised she was when he told her that they used to talk all of the time, and hang out together.  She didn't remember any of that.  All she remembers distinctly were the "friends" that were emotionally abusive, and girls that made fun of her, and threw apples at her in the park.  Sadly, memories of the kind young boy with whom she spent a lot of time faded away.  ...why?

It is a fun exercise to think about everyone we do remember, and why.  It's very telling.

If you were to ask me about what my elementary school years were like, I'd tell a heroic tale of a severely under-privileged female visible-minority that fought bullies, and stood up for those who were bullied; how when I was in gr. 4, I scored higher than all the gr. 8's on diagnostic math and language skills testing; how I was unanimously voted in for Class President every year; how I never compromised my nerdiness for popularity; how I eagerly gave everything 100% effort in everything I did.  Maybe there were people who bullied me, or disliked me.  Maybe I was not as kind as I think I was.  Maybe.  But off-hand, and until someone shatters my self-image, this is how I like to remember young-Carolyn.

Every year, I fancied a different career path.  One year, it was volcanology; the next it was archaelogy.  Then I grew older, and the path to survive conflicted heavily with the path to personal interest.  I reached an impasse, and years later, I wound up ... here.

All I ever really wanted was to just travel - dive into cultures, not just visit.  Maybe this portion of my childhood-ever-shifting-dreams is still salvageable.
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