Unfortunately, unlike Edith Piaf, sometimes I do. Regret, that is. My friend Gay Ingram, http://gayingram.blogspot.com/ commented on my last post, ending with three words that started me thinking, she said: “Aren’t people strange?”
I enjoy watching and listening to people, and wondering what makes them do the things they do–and I actually think I have the answers (how’s that for ego?) I should have been a psychiatrist–wish I had studied psychology–wish I’d done a lot of things. Looking back on my life, and playing the psychology game with myself, I confess there was never anything I wanted badly enough to work for it. Isn’t that awful? My mother, along with my school teachers and relatives, kept telling me “You could be anything you wanted to be–you have the smarts and the talent.” My reaction? Hah, I don’t want to be anything, so there!
Mother was a professional dancer, did her best to teach me and encourage me in dance–I dug my heels in, didn’t want to dance. Thing is, the things I wanted to do were downgraded–I wanted to sing, loved to sing around the house–mother said I couldn’t “carry a tune in a bucket.” So I stopped. I wanted to write–maybe journalism or reporting–my teacher at the time said “Hah, what makes you think you can write?” So I stopped. In the English equivalent of high school, when it was time to think about college and a career, I told the art teacher, “I want to be a commercial artist,” her response was “There are very few jobs for commercial artists–why not be an art teacher?” But I didn’t want to teach, so I stopped thinking about art.
Consequently I didn’t accomplish anything in the way of a career, and ended up studying to be a secretary, a very good one, I might add–I can write excellent business letters!
I have many regrets. Why did I let people talk me out of things I wanted to do? I wish I’d studied more in the art line–I did take classes in interior design and textile design, but not enough to be anything. In my now senior life, I look back and wish I’d studied psychology; studied fashion design; studied dance and music. Regrets. I suppose everybody has them. But did I not want these things badly enough?
My mother wanted to dance. My grandparents had my uncle to think about–he wanted to be a pharmacist, so he was pushed through university and given all the help he needed, financial and supportive. Mother was “just a girl” and wasn’t expected to have or want formal training. So, what did she do? She wanted to dance so badly she searched around and found a special stage school that had academic classes in the mornings and dance classes all the rest of the time, and signed herself up for it–how could Grandma and Grandpa refuse to help her then.
I let people talk me out of things–maybe I’m just lazy? In psychoanalyzing myself, I know I felt that I could not live up to people’s expectations of me. As a result, I disappointed so many, and seem still to be doing that–particularly me!
Several really major regrets are to do with opportunities avoided. One of my first secretarial jobs was “Girl Friday” to the manager of a chain of theaters in England. If I’d stuck with that job (a job I liked), I could have gone on to be something in television–production, for instance. But I got bored and wanted a change (which wasn’t for the better.) During one of my later secretarial jobs, I saw an ad for a wonderful secretarial position–secretary to the owner of a major Formula One racing team! Wow, the name of that owner is well known in Formula 1 circles to this day. I applied, an interview was set up–I got cold feet and didn’t show up!
A few years later I applied for a job as secretary to the CEO of a well-known magazine for men (think bunnies)–he was the top man for the European area, based in London. This time I did show up, and the job was enticing (no, I was NOT to be a bunny!) The job description required that the applicant be fluent in either French or German (or both)–I was not fluent, but did know a little school French. I explained that should I be considered for the position, I was willing to take night classes to become fluent in either or both!
I received a letter from the gentleman telling me he’d given the position to a girl who was already fluent in both languages, but that I was his second choice–he requested that I contact him after three months, because if his chosen applicant didn’t turn out at the end of the ninety-day probation period, I would have the job.
Did I contact him at the end of three months? I’m sure you can guess the answer to that.
Keep Calm and Carry On