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Question 7

Has your vision for the future changed because of the economy?

Photo prompt #7: What you wanted to be when you grew up.

Growing up, I had no concept of the realities of the working world. A career is just a notion, an identity you’re going to grow into, and you don’t realize that a job is a binding contract with sacrifices and obligations and pressure and competition. None of that enters your mind, and thank god for that, because there would be a lot of depressed kindergartners out there with dreams crushed prematurely.

All that I knew was what interested me and where I showed the first signs of talent, which was drawing, painting, a thirst for creative writing, and an imagination that soared a little too high.

My imagination kept me daydreaming in the clouds for too long. I wish I had my feet planted in the ground of reality sooner. I mean, I didn’t stop believing in Santa Claus until the fourth grade! We still had arguments, discussions in the cafeteria, and I firmly advocated on the side of his existence.

Ten years ago, when I was 15, I definitely thought that by now I would be living on my own in another city and financially independent. I expected to be making enough money to live by myself without a roommate. Everyone wanted to become a writer and move to New York. And I fell into that cliché at one point, too.

Now, as I look ahead, I hope that in a few years I will have the good fortune of being able to reflect on the challenges that I, and we, are currently facing. I will have an increased knowledge of economics and personal finance. I will be working at a job that I enjoy — as an administrative assistant at a university, for a policy research institute, or a book publishing company. Publishing will no longer be a distant pipe dream and I will have found a way into that world. I will have more of a social life. I will have developed a strong commitment to playing a musical instrument. But more than anything I hope to have a salaried job with health insurance.

I don’t think that’s asking or expecting too much. Is it?

In ten years, I hope I can say that I was able to master something.

I will have completed a Master’s degree in public policy or publishing and I will have traveled to unfamiliar cities in South America and Europe. I’ve never put a time frame on marriage or children. I don’t think about marriage — but if it happens, great! I won’t live my life counting on it, though. If in ten years I can afford to buy property then I will consider it and I won’t wait for anyone else to come along. I don’t see children in my crystal ball. I never had dreams of being a mother and I don’t believe it is every woman’s destiny.

My perception of the world around me is constantly changing and, depending on how earth-shattering my experiences are, it may or may not affect my original plans. Whatever happens I’m always teetering back and forth between optimism and pessimism. I’m disappointed in reality but trying to make the most of it.

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