I want to be a ballerina

ballerinaYes, that’s right. A real diva. The Sugar Plum Fairy in a Nutcracker suite that brings crowds to their feet, in a tutu metaphorically on fire.

At least, that is what I used to want; I saw it as my destiny.

So, as any good ballerina in training would, I walked on my tiptoes around the house for hours every day. When called to the dinner table. On my way to my sandbox. From the bedroom to the bath.

One tiny problem. My mother would not enroll me in ballet lessons.

And so my diva status declined slightly over the years.

Which is when veterinarian looked good.ballerina1

Saving doe-eyed animals from horrible fates, ministering to my furry friends in myriad ways.

Until I realized science was not my forte.

So fighter pilot is a good option, right? Excitement, travel, a real purpose.

Only math acumen and 20/20 vision tend to help. Oh, and I’m kind of a dove, really.

Marketing executive? That didn’t even make the first cut on my list of wannabes when young.

And yet, here I am. Paying the bills one campaign at a time.

Writer was on the list. And I am writing. I think I have a book in me somewhere. If Laura Ingalls Wilder can publish her first book at the age of 64, I figure I have some wiggle room.

My belabored point is: I wanted to be somebody. Someone who had adventures, made a difference.

I was so sure I could be anything. That’s what my mother told me and I believed it.

Young man with spade in a garden.
Young man with spade in a garden.

I love to ask people what they would be if given a do-over with no limitations. I’ve had CEOs tell me they would be professional gardeners, teachers tell me they would be chefs.

Many of us don’t get to be what we thought we wanted to be.

You know the ones I love?

The CEOs who garden on Sundays. The teachers who cook gourmet meals for friends during summer vacation.

The writers who sometimes (secretly) still walk on tiptoes around the house and take barre class to get their ballerina fix.

Did you let a dream go? Why? Does it haunt you now?

Here’s hoping you’ve found a way to fit it into your busy schedule.

Maybe not as a grand master or diva, but as an aficionado.

The world needs more of those.

After all, marketing executives are a dime a dozen.

Or so I hear.





31 Comments Add yours

  1. srbottch says:

    Very nice. Makes me reflect on my own life. My father always had me being a doc, a lawyer or engr, like his brother. I went into sales (screws) but I always come back to this, “You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody…” (On the Waterfront)

  2. Recently i found out that plans have a horrible way of never turning out as you would expect them to.
    I needed this Kay thank you!
    fyi my brother is also a marketing exec

  3. Oh my God, I have always loved to write and I walk on my toes. How many of us can there be? You made my day about Laura Ingalls Wilder getting her first book published at 64. Thank the Lord. Sounds like you found your forte in writing. You have a gift. Never give that up.

    1. candidkay says:

      Maybe we number in the thousands:)

  4. Great post. The CEO that gardens on the weekends. I like her too. It’s probably all about that balance thing. We take on complications, have to pay bills and being creative is not always lucrative. Hard work seems to dominate in any area. The creative world looks fun and free, but it is hard work. I’m not sure where I’m going with this comment, so I’ll stop there. 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      You’re going where my head has been! Must be something in the air:). We’re all looking for the flow with the creative bit and a decent living. The two don’t always come hand in hand with the creative bit. We see success in someone else but don’t see the sweat equity that came before, right?

      1. So true. It’s always that person at the top, their final cut, that draws people to thing the creative life would so wonderful. The years of forgoing, late nights, endless edits and rewrites. That never really makes it into the vision when someone thinks of a successful, bill paying, creative life. As far as our heads being in the same place . . . yeah, we’ve been there before. 🙂

  5. KM Huber says:

    Writing has always been with me, when I worked day jobs and when I didn’t. Only now, as I approach 63, (thanks for that info about Laura Ingalls Wilder) am I comfortable with the book I am now writing. We fit one another.

    I’ve written one novel and enjoyed the exercise but novelist has never quite fit, as much as I may have wanted it to. Writing and I are now partners, and I would not want a do-over for writing or my life. It is not that either has been remarkable–they have not–it is that both brought me to this moment, and in that, I am most comfortable. Great post as always, Kay. Thank you.

  6. I was always a writer, but I was always good at art too. I thought for a while I’d go to art school until having to do art in class made me fall out of love with it. In the end, I became a librarian so you could say my career always had the arts running through it – and now here I am writing and painting (while still being a librarian!)

  7. Well if Laura Ingalls was 64 I better get my ass in gear and write. Oh and by the way, you are somebody. You are a mother.

    1. candidkay says:

      Love it:). Maybe we’ll publish at 70😉.

  8. Amy says:

    When I was growing up, I wanted to be a zoologist. I eventually chose to become a teacher, because I’m interested in everything under the sun, and I adore children. Other things I might have done? Too many to list here! Love that you finally did take ballet in college! xo

    1. candidkay says:

      That doesn’t surprise me, Amy! Your gentle spirit would be right at home with the animals–you’d be a sense of calm for them, I’m sure:). I believe you could do many things! You’re a Renaissance woman😉

  9. Do I still have time to become a pro sand volleyball player?? Rio 2016! Where would one learn to play this game and grow 6-8 inches taller… thanks for the great post!

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh my–and you in the middle of farmland could be an issue:).

  10. I wanted to be a dancer too! Though I didn’t get that urge until later, in college — which was probably too late to start a “real” dance career. I do manage to throw some dance into my life here and there (usually in my living room)…so in some sense I am a dancer.

    1. candidkay says:

      Living room dancing counts:). Some of the best audiences there, imaginary or not. That’s usually where I get my standing ovations:).

  11. suemclaren24 says:

    I also wanted to take ballet. Or even tap. My mother wasn’t on board. Alas, I never became a dancer on land, but I did find synchronized swimming in college, ended up competing in AAU and briefly became a teacher. I still, in my 75th year, continue synchronized swimming training.

    1. candidkay says:

      Love learning this! Had no idea and I think it’s wonderful that you’re still up to your eyeballs (literally and figuratively) in the water:).

  12. dinnerbysusan says:

    A very wise friend of mine once said that everyone should have a vocation, and an avocation. That’s why I spent 20-some years in the ballet studio with all those lithe teen bodies around me!

  13. This post touched so close to home for me!
    As a young child I wanted to be a writer and a vet.
    As life takes certain turns, I realized that I could not do what I truly wanted to do. I did ok in sciences but math was my issue with being any kind of vet.
    As I grew older I didn’t know what I wanted to do, other than write so I kept going with my journals (over 30 as I started when I was 6).
    I have various jobs through out the years to “pay the bills” but I have never stopped writing.
    A while back I was laid off. I was so happy because even though it was an upper level management job, I hated it.
    I started doing sitter work – I love taking care of others so it is a good fit. However, it isn’t steady nor does it pay a lot. So I also cleaned houses, again low pay but something I love to do. Then I started writing. I am not making much at all to do it, however people now say I am happier than they have seen me in a long time.
    So while I continue to look for a “real job” I am writing my blog, catching a few breaks on articles for pay and doing sitter work. All while spending more time with my boy.
    Yes it’s hard, but it’s also the happiest I have been in years.
    Never give up on your dreams!
    Reading your blogs also inspire me more than you know!
    I was a graceless ballerina – so I say do what you love.
    I’m with you on the writing and dancing!

    1. candidkay says:

      It means so much to hear I inspire you! Thank you for the kind words. It’s why most of us write, right? Wishing you more joy and maybe a bit of ease thrown in, with daily work that makes you sparkle:).

  14. RuthsArc says:

    A lovely post. We may have a job to pay the bills but that can be ok when we include our passions into our life and get a balance. Keep dancing and writing.

  15. I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. So of course I went to school to get an Accounting degree and now work as an insurance professional. If I could have a do-over I would choose a career based on passion instead of practicality, and it would definitely not include the 9-5 office grind. I suppose I am having a do-over of sorts, since I have changed my work schedule to make time for writing and other things. Who says you can’t be a ballerina in your own world? Dance on, my friend, dance on!

    1. candidkay says:

      “I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. So of course I went to school to get an Accounting degree and now work as an insurance professional.” And this is why I love you. This sense of humor and honesty . . .

  16. Eleanor says:

    Ha!! Love the advice of getting a dream accomplished on “the side”. – says another “dime a dozen former marketing executive “!!!!!

    1. candidkay says:

      I’d venture to say you and I are worth at least a quarter together, Eleanor:).

  17. After much healing within…I’m exactly where I wish to be. I have tested many waters…but that is the journey, to accept 🙂
    Great post kay…and no, I didn’t do twinkle toes. Somehow didn’t have that pull that other things did 😀

  18. I loved this post. You know, it’s not too late to take ballet lessons if you want to now! I grew up wanting to be a writer, but mostly I was going to be ‘rich and famous’ as an actor. I trained from a very young age, and my best friend and I talked endlessly about the films we would make, the stage plays we would create and star in. I did quite a lot of professional acting as a kid, then amateur productions as an interest until I was in my 20s. When I was 16, my father suggested I think of another career choice, as acting was not likely to make me a very good living. He suggested I become a journalist, so that’s what I did. It was a great choice and I had a wonderful career, travelling and meeting hundreds of people I wouldn’t normally have come across. Funnily enough, I spent about half my career as an entertainment journo, so got to hang out on film sets all the time anyway. My best friend really did go on to become an actor in films, TV and stage productions. Part of me still wonders, what if I’d stuck with it…

    1. candidkay says:

      Love this:). Your dad’s advice was echoed in homes around the world, I’m sure. Still is. And yet, what if we’re discouraging the next Paul Newman? I did take ballet lessons in college, jazz as a teen. And now, you may find me dancing around the house. Or at the barre in barre class with a smile when I’m not wincing in pain:).

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