Peace time and Dungeon Prompts

Juilliard

Sleepiness is ongoing (see post) and you may have noticed I’ve been posting more erratically than usual :-).  Thought I’d combine my response to Dungeon Prompts this week with a reminder to set aside 10 minutes to pray or chant for peace on Collective Prayer Sunday.  Kind of a lazy two-fer-one post…

This week’s prompt:

How do you measure up to your eight-year-old-self’s plans for the future?  We all had childhood dreams, or fantasies.  How did you imagine the world as a kid?  When you were eight years old, what did you plan on being when you grew up?  What would that version of yourself think about who you are now?

This has been an interesting one to contemplate the last few days.  While I know I’m not living the life she dreamed of, I’m not sure how eight-year-old me would feel about sixty-two-year old me.

As a child, I dreamed of nothing but a career in music.  Originally the dream was Broadway or movie musicals.  As I got older I dreamed more of rock or jazz.  I’m not sure if I ever had the talent for the type of music I wanted to sing, but when I begged for voice lessons I was handed classical training starting at age 12.  By the time I was old enough to realize my musical preference, I had a voice that didn’t fit the music.

Still, I dreamed and when time came to look at colleges, I wrote away for nothing but catalogs from music schools.  Which led to the big discussion about music as an unrealistic career “even for people with talent” and the bottom line that my parents weren’t paying for music school.  Not being the rebellious, independent sort who had a clue how to just take off and make it happen, I went to Northwestern as an education major.

My collegiate career started the fall after Kent State and by sophomore year I was a jeans and work-shirt, marching, protesting hippie with a growing array of social concerns.  And that new viewpoint stayed.  In some ways that expression of political and social values not shared by my parents was the first time I spoke as me.

In my twenties, I did sing in a band for a while but I finally understood that the voice created by training was never going to work for the kind of music I wanted to sing.  And that I lacked the ability to create a style uniquely my own.  My interest in pursuing it pretty much ended there.

I also carried a lot of angst and sadness from childhood on, though I was in my thirties before it became clear how strait-jacketed I was by my own demons and issues.  When it became too bad, I finally started down the personal growth and spirituality seeking path that I’m still meandering along.

My life right now is far from any dream I ever had.  And my dreams have changed.  I’d like to think that anxious, repressed little girl — who I believe still lives inside — is happier now and pleased to be more free and peaceful even though at the time she never acknowledged her deep unhappiness.

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16 thoughts on “Peace time and Dungeon Prompts

  1. My life too is vastly different from what I imagined at that age, but unlike you I didn’t have a particular talent. How ironic. I was raised by parents who would have paid for an education in music, or any artistic endeavour. And here we both are – the most enduring path we’ve followed, no matter what was going on externally in our lives, was the one of inner healing and spirituality. I can’t imagine my life being different, can you? I once did an inner journey taking my different childhood selves through all the changes in my life, and the decisions made, so they could understand how they ended up as me. It helped them relax a bit more.
    Alison

  2. Good question. If I had any dreams they were wiped out at 8 years old by overhearing my father tell my mother he was going to leave her and hearing her tell him if he did, he would never see his daughter again. He didn’t leave and I spent the next ten years trying to please him so he wouldn’t leave us. Which meant listening for hours and hours about philosophy, science, and politics. He didn’t leave, but I became disillusioned with him at 18 and focused on finding someone totally different from him to marry. Never found a “calling” as such, but have had an interesting eclectic life experience anyway.

    • Oh boy, tough thing to go through so young. From your blog it seems like you’re called to spirit — exploration, understanding, etc. As well as interesting other stuff.

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  4. What a beautiful post — like you, I wanted to be on Broadway, singing,dancing, acting but had little to no support from my parents who thought it was unrealistic — my father thought I should become a pharmacist! 🙂

    Today, as Alison writes, it is the spiritual journey inward and how I reflect it out into the world to create the dreams I hold of peace, love and harmony that are most important for me.

    • Oh boy, those old-fashioned dads. I think mine was pretty much in favor of wife or teacher…
      And yes, you, Alison, me — all moving along this spiritual journey toward love and peace. I’m so glad we’re on this journey together.

  5. What a beautifully poignant post. When I saw this prompt, I chickened out because I have not come to terms with all the unfulfilled dreams. But I also agree that the young girl within me had gotten stronger and freer as I have evolved. Singing in a band must have been cool even if you ultimately decided to move on. I would think that singing was a vehicle for you to find and express your voice.

    Do you see it that way? love, Linda

    • I hadn’t ever thought of it that way, but in hindsight, it probably was part of the reason I loved to sing so much. In a family that was always trying to quell my voice, singing was okay so one way to express something of myself without censure.
      That journey to finding peace with the dreams not fulfilled can be arduous. It’s funny, though, for me, now, I don’t even think about music as an option nor feel any longing for that road not taken…

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