A couple of weeks ago, I talked about different ways to find your passion, to find that unfulfilled dream that might still be achievable. One of the routes I proposed was looking back, and this week I’ve gone way, way back…
Having returned to the UK, I’ve had the opportunity to go through my old things at my parents’ house, the same house in which I grew up. The attic, as it turns out, has been accommodating every single exercise book I’ve ever had from starting school at four, right through to my graduation in 2000.
After only scratching the surface, I’ve already found some quite revealing signs as to my biggest interests during those years.
Discover the 5Ls model to help you think more broadly about success
In my experience - from my own life and from working with clients over the years - there are five key areas in our lives that need to be balanced in order for us to thrive and live a truly successful life in a more whole and holistic sense: LIVE - Wellness & Wellbeing; LOVE - Relationships & Romance; LEARN - Development & Growth; LEAD - Career & Impact; and LAUGH - Fun & Spontaneity.
Ladies and Gentleman of the Jury, I invite you to examine the evidence:
Exhibit A, 1995: What’s New magazine
THE must-read publication at Sir William Perkins’s School, with all the hot goss on who fancied whom. (Mostly, all of us at the all girls’ school fancied all the boys at the neighbouring boys’ school. Go figure.)
I also used to do newspaper layouts with pretend interviews with my family (and these days I’m responsible for the Christmas newsletter).
Exhibit B, 1995: Art project to design a magazine
I’d like to draw your attention to the teacher’s comment: “This seems very much like other magazines.” Excuse me, do other magazines include one-off articles like “I died… and lived to tell the tale!” along with love spells and poster prints of cute lil puppies? Didn’t think so.
I also produced similarly original pieces of literature that represented attempts at emulating such greats as Sweet Valley High and Nancy Drew. I’ll have to search for these but most likely I burned them in a previous clear-out.
Exhibit C, 1997: My birth chart
Now I have zero recollection of ever consulting an astrologer (from the name, it looks like it might be a classmate’s mother) but it would seem that I did in fact do so and the results, I think you’ll agree, are spookily insightful:
“Very good communicator. This is partly due to the fact that her ascendant (how the world sees her), her mid-heaven (what she does in the world) and her five major planets are all in air.”
“A bit of a drama queen. Drama is good as a hobby (not as a career).”
“Needs to work in communications (e.g. computers).”
“Very logical and creative.”
“More an ‘ideas’ person. With planets in Libra, very good at organising and having ideas, but may need other people to put her ideas into practice.”
“In her career, she may travel.”
“Has a very outward personality. But because of this, she has to be careful that people don’t take advantage of her.”
“Split personality? In ways very attached to her home and in other ways very detached.”
Given that I work internationally in digital marketing, while doing amateur theatre, I much prefer enabling others to follow through on my ideas than actually doing the work myself, and I’m torn between settling down and remaining free to wander the earth, that’s a pretty good assessment, whatever you think of such hocus-pocus.
(For those of you who care, I was born 3rd October 1982 at 21.15 in Chertsey, England.)
Exhibit D, 1998: Careers leaflets
Among the leaflets I selected to learn more about particular careers are “careers in journalism”, “advertising” and “design”.
In the interest of full disclosure, I also picked up brochures on medicine and the music industry.
Exhibit E, 1998: Mizz Magazine
As part of our compulsory summer work experience, I chose to do a week at Mizz Magazine. Highlights included being asked to rate random young men on the street, and modelling as a drug addict.
I should point out that I also did a week folding clothes at Debenham’s (=fashion!) as well as a week in a London law firm.
Exhibit F, 2001: Front-page article in the university newspaper
My brief stint at Cherwell involved, yes, a cover article on Harry Potter (I seem to remember the editors massacring what I had actually written but, hey, it’s still my byline), as well as a review of Paul McCartney’s specially commissioned oratorio Ecce Cor Meum.
I also became Publications Officer at college, editing the Freshers’ Handbook 2002 as well as the regular newsletter, the very highbrow Bogsheet.
Exhibit G, 2006-2014: Writing
Since starting to work in the world of marketing, I’ve chosen to spend a good deal of my spare time (apart from being a drama queen, obviously) writing. I’ve done a two-year NCTJ course on Writing for the Periodical Press, a ten-week online Creative Writing course at Oxford, a two-week course in Greece, and a MatadorU online Travel Writing course (still in progress); I now have this blog; and I have a weekend course planned in a few weeks’ time on the Isle of Wight.
The defence rests. (Or am I the prosecution?)