Are You Living The Life You Dreamed Of?

When I was 5, I wanted to be a checkout lady at the supermarket. (This was before politically correct titles were important) Plus, no men did that at our market. They were stocking shelves. Remember this was 1963.

I remember playing “supermarket” in our basement. My friends were the shoppers and I pretended to have a cash register. Hitting the “keys”, sliding their “groceries” along the counter. Bagging stuff up. I felt so efficient and important!
I’m not sure I shared that career goal with Dad and Mom. They fully intended me to attend University.

Around 6, I decided to be a librarian. The thought of spending my days in a library seemed like heaven to me. This was before my parents divorce. I was still spending weekends in the downtown Toronto library, with my Dad. Just the smell of books was enough to make me happy. Still is.

By 7,  I’d changed my mind. There must have been a school project that asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

My mother got such a kick out of it, she saved it. Then I saved it. It’s stored with the hand prints, locks of hair and flotsam of childhood, that parents save.

Are You Living The Life You Dreamed Of?
It’s stored in this top trunk, which was my Mother’s Doll’s trunk.


It’s printed in pencil, on ruled paper, in the jerky hand of a child. I wrote my dreams for the future. How I wanted my life to be and my world to look, when I grew up.

The synopsis:

When I grow up I will be married.
I will have a little boy with brown hair. He will be smart and handsome.
I will have a little girl. She will be beautiful and smart.

Notice the sexist order I used at 7?


Well… I went to University. I majored in Psychology, simply because it required the least amount of math.

I got married.

I gave birth to a brown-haired son who is smart, kind and handsome.

I later gave birth to a blonde daughter who is smart, kind and beautiful.

As an adult, I’d never planned to have career. As an adult, I always aspired to be a wife and mother.


In my 40’s I became a Certified Image Consultant. It was a blast and I finally got to use my Psychology training. Score!

Then at 54 I decided I wanted to be a blogger and write.

I didn’t grow up to be what I wanted at 5 or 6. But my 7 year old’s dream came true.


What did you want to be?




  1. I loved this post, my friend. It made me think. “Am I Living the Life I Dreamed of?” In three words — “not even close!!”

    I was either going to be a prima ballerina/famous opera singer or a Carmelite nun like my patron saint Ste Thérèse de Lisieux! A husband wasn’t even in the picture. So….here I am, almost 40 years married and still wondering what I want to be when I grow up.

    Cheers, M-T

  2. Oh I loved your post Jen… thanks for being so honest and upfront with your readers.. I hang on every word.. and I have a chest just like your mom’s second one down.. mine was apparently ‘hand made’ by my husbands grandfather who was in Ceylon in a Prisoner of War camp.. just shows you.. the truth always comes out! Mine is just darker wood.
    Live your life and your dreams daily I say.. I agree.. write those dreams down.. and lo and behold.. they’ll happen! xx hugs j

  3. Hi Jennifer! Slowly making my way around to say hi to everyone. Sorry to be so tardy. Isn’t it fun to look back at what the little people we were wanted to be when we grew up? There was a time when I wanted to be a farmer, which cracks me up because I do not like to get my hands dirty! (my grandmother had a farm, so I think that’s where that came from). I think the journey is more interesting that any destination, and would like to think that there is still time to ask what we want to be when we grow up!

    Enjoy your summer! XOXO

    1. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. Do we have to?
      Your artwork is amazing!! I adore it.

  4. Thanks, Jennifer for this fun walk down memory lane. I recently found your blog and I enjoy the musings of all who are “of a certain age.”
    I always wanted to be a singer/dancer/actor and then I wanted to teach singing, dancing, and acting until I married. So I went for the common denominator, teaching, and sang, danced, and acted as a hobby until I could do them no more. At age 32 I married and we had two amazing children.
    About 20 years ago I had the opportunity to become an art teacher and it was one of the best decisions of my life. But the very best thing I did for myself was to go to college at age 57 and earn a Master’s degree. My daughter & I graduated from the same college in the same ceremony on Mother’s Day last year. We’d meet for coffee or supper between classes and we became so much closer.
    And while I have fulfilled many of my childhood wishes, my young self would never had imagined the richness of the life I live now.

    1. Congratulations Carol!! That’s fabulous of you! The richness of our lives now are the rewards for all the hard work we put into our past!! Welcome!!

  5. Oh Jennifer I have tears of laughter rolling down my face over your “List” – that should be in a museum – such a different world. Chuckling over the order of importance for the different sexes. Daughter : looks first. Son : smart first.

    Thank Goodness the world has changed!!!!

    Absolutely adored this post – thank you for the honesty and perspective.

    1. It was funny to reread and realize how sexist it was. I blame the time frame and my age:))

  6. I read once that if you would write down a list of your goals, you would be far more likely to learn later that you had accomplished a good portion, if not all, of them. Can’t remember doing that in my early life, but I seem to have always known that I wanted to be a secretary. Having grown up in rural Appalachia, my first TV viewing was the late 40’s and I must have been impressed by watching Ann Sothern in “Private Secretary,” I believe it was called. A very speedy typist, my first job was on a manual typewriter typing insurance renewals, 5 copies each with carbon paper in between. By my mid-20’s I had become a city girl (like Dolly Parton) and never looked back. Long story short, I spent the last 35 years of my career as an assistant to a Corporate General Counsel, in an international architectural and real estate development firm, where my reading and editing skills came in very handy, and I was sometimes even accused of practicing law. No two days were the same and it was never boring. I’ve always wanted to write a novel, but decided early on that I would have to settle for being a reader, as I write better business letters than fiction. Reading is my life’s passion; nothing brings me greater pleasure in life than always having a good book at my side to read. As I believe Somerset Maugham said (or something like it): Reading (a good book) can cure a lot of the miseries of life. 🙂

    1. Sounds like you’ve had an amazing time!! Don’t rule out writing yet.

  7. So funny how your life mirrors the thoughts you had as a child.

    I wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. I used to send away for “Writer” magazine and I’d write in a journal. I spent long, lazy summer afternoons in our backyard writing. I wish I knew where those journals were now!

    1. Those journals would be so fun to read! Thanks for stopping by Cathy.

  8. Catherine says:

    I love your post Jennifer…you always seemed to know what you would like to be and at 7 had great future knowledge 🙂 your dreams came true…I’m very pleased to have met you in our blogging world…you’re a lovely voice to read; I very much enjoy popping by. xx

    1. Ditto Catherine! I’ve met the very nicest women through blogging, you at the top of the list. xo

  9. When I used to ‘play house’ with my best friend she pretended she was a corporate honcho and I was always a reporter for the newspaper. This was back in the dark ages and neither of us pretended to be married with children.
    Life has a way of changing things, for sure. But, finding writing later in life has brought it full circle for me.

    1. Wow Barbara. You were sophisticated as a child!! So fun.

  10. I think that sometimes life has a way of evolving in ways that are right for us, even if we don’t always know it at the time. It looks like you have found your niche at a time when you are ready to enjoy it. I enjoy reading your work – lovely post Jennifer.

    1. Thank you Kate! Im loving this niche. I didn’t even know it existed when I started, but so happy to be here.

  11. I love, love, love that you kept your list and that your dreams came true…and then some!

    1. I didn’t even know what dreams were, when I wrote it. It took Vicki’s topic choice to remind me. I love this group!!

  12. Jen how cute is this? You did exactly as you wrote. I love it!!

    I think I played school a lot and thought I would be a teacher. I did teach for a few years at a girls private school. I was to get a credential, but the program required a few more classes before I could began which were impacted, so I never finished. I recently found a newsletter I wrote age 9 weekly for my street on a typewriter with carbon copies. It was like a little blog, so maybe I was meant to do what I am now!! Hope you had a great weekend and mom’s day. xxoo Kim

    1. You were meant to blog Kim!!! Such a coincidence.

  13. It’s fascinating to see how our views of the world are shaped by the “era” in which we are raised, and then the reality of our lives as we grow up.

    Your progression is telling of the times many of us have lived in. But I am struck by, as you point out, the way you sequenced the boy first then the girl.

    Sixties sexism, alive and well (and reflected back at us on Mad Men!).


    1. I did notice that sexism. Pretty funny and ingrained at that time.

  14. I always knew what I wanted to do and took a slight detour for 25 years before arriving at my current destination: children’s writer. Am still in the process of selling that first book, but the hours I spend crafting worlds are the happiest of my life! I often feel that all the stories and characters have been waiting for me to show up; I’m simply taking dictation! Love your list!!!!

    1. The characters have been waiting for you Wendy! I’m so excited for your book to be published. And then your wardrobe for the book tour…..

  15. Love that list!
    The really important parts have come true and so much more… Wonderful post, Jennifer… xv

    1. Thanks Vicki! You picked a fabulous topic!

  16. This post got me to think back — and I can’t remember ever imagining what I wanted to be. I just always assumed it would have something to do with art, as it was the only thing I really knew. 35 years later and a career in the art field just as long, I guess I just ‘Forrest Gumped’ it!
    Thanks for a great post my dear!
    Kimberly XO

    1. Forest Gumping it isn’t a bad thing. Having a positive, open mind about our future is a great thing!!

  17. THAT was pretty SPOT on your list at seven!How fun that you still have that!I think YOU should FRAME IT!
    I have a box VERY similar to the second box down with the family silverware…………..that I never use!TOO precious to me………..from the GENERAL NATHANAEL GREENE side of the family!
    I think YOUR LIFE Turned out pretty darn GOOD!
    YOU have that ADORABLE GRAND BOY to cuddle.

    1. My Grandson is just beginning to say “granny”!! I’ll be racing up very soon for love and snuggles. I do feel blessed to have him in my life.

  18. What lovely reflections. Also a reminder that we evolve as we grow older and if we want to change it doesn’t mean what we did before was wrong, it just means we have learnt and evolved enough to move in new directions. Onwards and upwards my friend!

    1. I love your wisdom Ali!!! It sometime feels as though you’re inside my brain, only more perceptive. XOX

  19. Well done! : )

    When I was a kid I wanted to be a lawyer so I’d have lots of money and be able to dress fancy. LOL Priorities. That was probably when I was 11 or so.

    I don’t remember when I was really small what I wanted to be. I don’t think I ever said I wanted to be a Mom. When I was 11 I started vocalizing that I didn’t want kids. It bothered everyone.

    I think I always knew I wanted to be creative. I probably said “I want to make things.” I need to ask my Mom next time I speak to her. Hopefully she remembers. With 4 kids sometimes you forget these things.


    1. Having 4 kids could definitly drain the brain. I barely survived 2!
      You’re wonderfully creatve in so many ways.

  20. Dear Jennifer, I have been through a few reincarnations, working for Hallmark Cards at their Headquarter at Crown Center, becoming a realtor in 3 states which I loved, Entering my true dream: the art world and managing plus then handling the marketing for another gallery! Now like you I love blogging, supporting other artists, designers, fashion and jewelry designers and more!! Making so many friends in our world of blogging!!

    The Arts by Karena

    1. A realtor? How interesting to find what paths we take to where we are now! Our friends in the blogging world are the true gems I’ve found.

  21. I am so inspired by your posts. You write beautifully and thought provoking blogs. I am so glad I stumbled up on them. I still struggle to find anything worth writing about, plus no one seems to follow along anyway. I was so happy to hear the Huffington Post picked up a couple of your posts! Kudos! Keep up the great writing! And I’ll keep following along.

    1. Thanks some much Mileah! Sometimes my fingers just run away with themselves and even I am surprised at what results. I’m glad you’re here. xo

  22. Bluebooby says:

    I wanted to be a teacher. Then I wanted to be a doctor. Career path…not what I envisioned but it has allowed me to live a pretty great life. I have always been a goal setter, planner, etc. I prefer to see the whole picture and the move forwards.

    1. I’m a planner about my further now. I’m trying anyway, but my husband does the exact opposite. So I plan, and he denies any interest. argh!

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