So, I always wished I was one of those kids who knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. Not so much the primary school ‘ I want to be a fireman/nurse/pilot/train driver’ dream but the kind of people who knew when it came to choosing A levels that they wanted to be a vet or a doctor or a lawyer or some such worthy career.
I never had any idea what I wanted to do with my life (and at the ripe old age of 30 I still don’t think I do). It’s not something I talk about that often (for want of sounding like an arse) but I guess I’m pretty intelligent. At school, I was good at everything. I never really had a favourite subject – I liked maths and sciencey type subjects but I liked languages and humanities and all the creative stuff too. So, I just kind of pottered through my education doing things I liked – I did French, Maths, English Lit and (completely by accident really) Economics at A level. I liked all those things and couldn’t decide what to carry on with so I did a degree in ‘Combined Studies’ at Manchester University which was a third French and two thirds Social Sciences – which could have ended up being pretty much anything but which evolved into mostly Development Economics (developing countries, tiger economies, newly industrialised countries and the like) and Economic Anthropology (social anthropology from an economic viewpoint). Which was all very interesting but unless you land a job in the World Bank or the IMF doesn’t really get you very far career wise. So with no career/life dream to follow I somehow ended up working on campsites in France for 6 years on and off!
I had to spend a month in France in between my 2nd and 3rd years at uni so I got a job working for a British camping holiday company and spent 10 weeks working hard, getting drunk and speaking very little French on a lovely campsite in Brittany. Suffice to say I had a great time so decided to go back out for one last summer after I graduated. Which then turned into going to the Alps for a ski season, then another summer on the Cote D’Azur, a winter as a waitress at home in Blackpool then back to France as an Area Manager. Then followed a winter in Nantes in an industrial laundry (horrible job, good money, great people), a summer working as a receptionist back on the Cote D’Azur (which was the summer my French actually improved to almost fluent level), then back home to Blackpool and a stint in HMV. Then in 2003 I did my last season as an Area Manager in the Dordogne. From there I got a job in recruitment for the company I worked for in France back in their head office in Dunfermline – but two and a half years of that and I’d really had enough of camping. I didn’t really know how I’d ended up where I was – I had 5 years experience as a manager but it didn’t seem to count for anything outside the camping world. But I really needed to leave, and seeing how I’d bought a flat in Dunfermline and virtually all my friends live here I decided I didn’t want to move, so I ended up getting a job in a call centre for one of the big 5 high street banks (which was horrible but seemed like it would be a really secure job at the time!! How little I knew!). I’m still at the bank now – in mortgage administration which is a much better job, mostly because I don’t have to speak to customers anymore, but in the current climate I don’t know how much longer my job will exist.
And so we get to the ‘I really wish I had a dream’ part. I’ve thought, on and off over the years, about training to be a secondary school teacher. It was actually one of the only things I thought I might end up doing when I was at school. So I’ve been looking into doing a PGCE and the logistics of studying full time for a year and if I could afford it. The problem is I’m not sure if it’s something I really want or if I’m just drawn by the idea of a ‘career’ and good money, and all those holidays! Whilst pondering this on Twitter last week, Liza (a fellow Tim Minchin fan who lives in America) said I should follow my dream and not my maybe. Which is where the lack of dreams on my part came in.
But what Liza had said struck a chord. My real dream is to work in the theatre – I don’t really care what doing but I would love to work in that world. I just don’t know how to go about it…. I’ve been involved in dancing and theatre for as long as I can remember. I did nothing for years (what with all the living in France and that) but when I moved to Dunfermline I went back to dance classes and got involved with local amateur musical companies. I’ve been in quite a few shows over the last 3 or 4 years – and I have no delusions that I’m talented enough to perform for a living but to work in a theatre really is my dream. Unfortunately, it seems to be one of those areas where you can’t get a job without experience – but how do you get that experience? (Answers on a postcard please).
So anyway, I’ve decided to try and pursue this theatre thing with a bit more passion (and effort) rather than hoping something might just turn up. I’ve still not completely given up on the teaching idea but I’m going to give the theatre thing a proper go first.
I feel like I’ve just condensed the last 10 years of my life into this post and it doesn’t really amount to much. We haven’t even touched on the fact I’ve been single for the last 7 years and how I think I’m going to die sad and alone ‘spinster of this parish’ – but I think that can maybe wait for another day!