What would I be – (otherwise known as “My Ambition – at age 31”)


When I was just a little girl, I asked my mother, what would I be…

I recall my mom said something to the effect of:
“Be a doctor, be a lawyer. Study hard, my girl. Don’t take the easy way out. The future is yours to be. Work hard so you can earn lots of money.”

And so, I believe, I must have almost-wanted to be a doctor when I was little.

I had a few other ambitions in between ponytails to makeup. And by 16, I’ve written a handful of “my ambition” compositions (This must be the teacher’s favourite topic for compos) to know what I wanted to be (ha!).

I wanted to be:
A Teacher – some time before I entered Primary school and before it (some of them) became the middle name for horror.
A Pastor/Missionary sometime between age 14 to 16
A housewife – well, sometime between age 15 to 19, I was kinda love-sicked. Wanted to be a good wife (yup, not kidding), like many of the happy wives I met in church.
A nurse or combat medic – for a short while when I was 16. Gave up on it shortly after it became a joke to my classmates. “O no! you’d feed the wrong medicine and maybe discharge a baby to the wrong parents!” and  “Please let me know which hospital you’ll be working in. Why? So I would NEVER go there!” were among the comments I got. You see, they were concerned. I was quite infamous for being blur like sotong. I concluded then, that high risk jobs ain’t really suitable for me.

I eventually, became a designer (much to my mom’s dismay). I’d manage to ‘run away’ from JC and got myself a place in Visual Comms at Temasek Poly. It was as if the sky had fell down on my mom. But somehow, I got by with my choice.  After an avalanche followed by a period of cold war, that was.

Ironically, now at 31, I find myself revisiting the topic every now and then. Only to find myself more unsure than ever.

I’ve since ventured out of designing and carved out a career in digital marketing – nothing quite near (or too far away) from what I set up to be. I enjoy all things digital and so I am definitely in the right field. Work however, takes me away from my children for most part of the day. When they were younger, they’d cry and make a fuss while I struggle to wear my shoes and leave home for work. It wasn’t easy for me and I could only take comfort in the knowledge that they were in good hands. Looking into the future,  I could only hope that as the children grow older, they would gain more independence and I wouldn’t need to be physically around as much.  

Now that they are older and more capable of expressing themselves, it became clearer to me, that they need mommy to be more involved in their lives. 
Note written by Jiejie (going to be 6 years old) on our whiteboard.
This is how I read this picture: The line between us depicts that we are apart. She was probably doing her homework while feeling sad that I wasn’t around. She envisioned me to be smiling (glad it wasn’t an angry face) :) 
Back to the question, what would I want to be? I want to be too many things. I want to be a good mother to the kids, a successful career woman, an illustrator and a blogger. And I am trying to do them all at the same time. I hope I am not being too idealistic, but I do hope that by me working harder and sleeping lesser, I would be able to achieve my goals while not compromising my time with the kids. 

Every now and then, whenever I reach a cross road, I did wonder “What if I can’t be everything?” Then what would I be? Giving up my full time job would mean shaking the household finance, but that would mean more time with the kids. Would that be the best for the kids? Wanting the best for the children would also require money to groom them and provide them with quality care and proper insurance coverage (think university fees and unforeseen medical fees), which unfortunately wouldn’t be likely for the unemployed me. What then is the best for the kids? Honestly, I do not know. Not all the time. While I may know my priorities, more often than not, I do not know what is right. Fight for promos or knock off on time? Both are not wrong but may not seem as right as the other, depending from which perspective we’d look at the matter. 

It would be easier for me to work out a work-from-home arrangement if I were to switch my profession. Perhaps becoming an insurance or property agent would be ideal. But honestly, I am not sure if I can handle those. What about freelance writing while taking in baking orders? Or perhaps starting a blog shop? Sounds like a plan, but I am not sure if I’d bring in enough dough. 

What would I be? All in all, I couldn’t decide, or rather, I am too frighten to make a choice. Until I finally decide to take a step forward, I’ll sing to the tune of “Que Sera Sera”- Whatever will be, will be. 

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