In elementary school you were instantly cool if you had one of these friends-books, which you’d give to your friends to either 1) have them – or rather: their mothers with great handwriting and an arsenal of stickers – fill out for you or 2) never receive back. One of the questions was usually “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
We’ve all had them: the not-so-realistic-career-goals. As a kid your ambitions change approximately every 2-3 minutes, but these daydreams about becoming a princess, a firefighter, or perhaps a rockstar (I wanna be a wok star as my little sis used to sing) always return sooner or later. What did I want to be when I’d grow up?
My parents and me used to fly quite a lot and I’ve always looked up to these 24/7-smiling women in pretty dresses who hand out colouring books and sweets. You get to travel around the world, wear pretty uniforms, and due to their nearly-blinding smile which was practically glued to their faces I was a strong believer that they were one of the happiest beings on the planet.
I was very convinced that the doctors were simply doing a piss-poor job at finding a cure for my disease, and I dreamed about becoming a doctor and banishing wheelchairs into oblivion. Naturally I would also banish the white coats into oblivion and replace them with colourful ones. What’s not to love about turning a hospital into one giant rainbow?
There’s this line from a German schlager song my mother used to sing to me when we were flying and looking out of the tiny window: über den Wolken muss die Freiheit wohl grenzenlos sein. It translates to freedom must be endless above the clouds. I particularly loved sunsets during those way-too-long-flights when the clouds would be illuminated in shades of pink and orange. Becoming an astronaut seemed like the perfect idea; you get to actually fly in zero gravity which automatically means no more wheelchairs, and you also get the prettiest view you could ever dream of.
Currently I’ve decided against the three aspirations mentioned above – regarding astronaut, I’ve crossed that one off rather involuntarily – and I don’t have a specific idea of what I want to do when I’m all grown up. I do know I love astronomy and would love to focus on astrophysics later, and I’d be a happy-crying-mess if I ever – against all odds – get to go up in space, but other than that there’s nothing clear in view. If I had to name something, I believe it would be really awesome to focus on research and new discoveries.
What did you want to become when you were a kid?