Above are some of the answers my sweet little students gave me when I asked them what they wanted to be when they grow up.
My favorite responder was seven-year old Jose.
“I want to be a hard-een-arrow like the brother of my mother,” he beamed proudly.
“I’m sorry, you want to be a what?”
He scrunched his little face up in exasperation and raised his voice about ten syllables. “Har-deen-ARROW. Just like the BROTHER OF MY MOTHER!”
Right when I was about to make him write it down for me, Marcos chimed in, “He wants to be a jardinero.”
Thank goodness for Marcos.
Back to Jose.
“Ohhhh a gardener! That’s wonderful. So your uncle is a gardener in Madrid?”
“No, the brother of my motherrrrrrrrrrr!”
“NOOOOOOOOO.” He roared like a little, angry Spanish lion.
“Okay, well, technically it’s the same thing, but okay.” I threw my hands up in mock defeat.
With slightly less enthusiasm than Jose I want to write that I finally have found what I want to be when I grow up. Wait, am I already grown up?
Well, it took me a little bit longer to figure it out.
I love living abroad and teaching, but teaching isn’t my passion. I don’t want to improve children’s pronunciation of the word “thousand” or “three” or any of the other words they have trouble with. I want to write/blog for humanitarian photographers and non-profits. A few things in particular are really on my heart: mental health, refugees and water wells. I want to give people hope and peace and the knowledge that someone cares. Someone is paying attention. I want to tell people’s stories and connect human needs with resources.
Initially, I started researching companies who bring clean water to undeveloped communities. I was so moved by the photographs and images on the sites that I started researching humanitarian photographers. And then I started sending emails simply saying I want to help and will work for free if there is any need. The cynical, insecure parts of me tried to convince myself this was a waste of time and no one would want to work with me. Within a few minutes I got a huge YES email reply.
Nothing is certain at this point, but I know I won’t ever regret trying. At best, it could lead to getting to contribute to something that is bigger than myself. At worst, it won’t work out.
Everyone has a gift, a passion, a heart for something and I’m finally learning to have a little more trust and a little more faith in dreaming the impossible. Life is too beautiful and too short to wonder what if...