For as long as I can remember, this is the most commonly asked question to exist. I can remember being a little girl with piggy tails and cute dresses, and the biggest concern I had would be what to name my new dolls (this took a lot of thought and consideration, usually based on my favourite Spice Girl/Girls Aloud member or princess), what I wanted for my dinner and trying to run around care free without falling and grazing my knees (although the worst part was always when you landed on your hands and they scraped along the pavement whilst you flew).
Even at such a tender, vulnerable age, family and teachers would say "What do you want to do when you're older, Hayley? What do you want to be?" and the imaginative little soul I was would conjure up responses like "A singer!" as I jumped around belting out either a 60's love ballad, any of Cher's album (Believe and If I could turn back time being firm faves) or Lady Marmalade - I had a VERY varied taste of music. But whatever the genre, I loved the idea of performance and telling a story through song.
Then when I would be asked again, and again, and again, over the years I had decided I was going to be a teacher, a dancer, an author, a hairdresser, a princess, a tennis player (I remember being adamant about this one and I haven't a clue where it came from, I was far from sporty), and the list went on and on. Back then, being so young and sweet, not feeling restricted and being around other children who were going to be spiderman, a footballer or a ballerina were the best days of my life. When no one would say "you can't do that", "oh that's a bit tricky Hayley".
But then as we grow, and as we age, this question is asked more frequently but the responses you get in return get more and more critical. Now I'm not for one minute saying to become spiderman and physically live the day to day life of a fictional character is realistic but even careers you hear in day to day conversation, people tell you are impossible.
For the last four or five years, I've wanted to be a barrister, this has been the aim. I had confident, clear visualisations of myself in a court room as a strong advocate and achieving justice for people. I studied law at A-Level and I'm currently in my second year of my law degree at the University of Law. In fact, I have an exam in two days time and really ought to be going over my revision notes instead of rambling on a blog. However my recent frame of mind and revision mode gave some sort of epiphany. I realised that over my journey of university my confidence has been on a downward spiral and at its lowest, I found myself saying "I can't do that" more times than I ever have in my life. Law is a competitive field and I've met some wonderful people along the way, but also some
not-so-wonderful people who influence their negative mindset upon their peers, to a point where I began to believe these people. I've never been afraid of a challenge and it saddens me to notice my downfall of dedication recently.
The point I'm trying to make here is, regardless of whether I still want to be a barrister, or a writer, or even a hairdresser, the question "What do you want to be" and the answers we give back become more and more apprehensive as we grow up. I know myself I have lied to people with my answers because I'm worried what response I might get, because I might sound too ambitious and need to be more realistic. Or I've felt a need to say a certain career because of the pressure of the necessity to be successful.
So rather than concentrating on what I wanted to be, I'm working on who I want to be. Because no matter what career path I end up taking, how much money I earn, or how many knock backs I receive, I want to be the kind of person that encourages others to achieve their goals. I've experienced the words and looks off negative people, and allowed them to effect my mindset and I know that I never want to do that to somebody else. I know that I want to be a friendly, approachable and loving person. I know that I want to see the world, care for my family and make memories with my friends. I want to spread positivity amongst people, become as charitable as I can, help the less fortunate. I have so many little goals which aren't feasible through what grades I ascertain or determined by the job I choose.
I'm aware this is a long, ramble of a blog so a huge round of applause to anyone who read all of this, but I needed to write down these thoughts somewhere!
Thanks for reading, Hayley x