Someone asked that question on Twitter the other day, and after thinking about it briefly, the answer came quickly: I wanted to be "free."
As with most children, I didn't understand the way the world worked, and I didn't much care. I only knew that I wanted what I wanted, and that anyone who didn't support me in achieving what I wanted was to be respectfully ignored. "Respectfully" because I was 'raised right' and Mama wasn't having any disrespect.
I've been asked that question: "What did you want to be when you grew up?" LOTS of times, and this answer never occurred to me before. Previous answers included anything from a gymnast (yeah, I just said that), to a foreign language translator/ interpreter, and a host of things in between. Maybe I didn't need to realize until now that through it all, I really just wanted to be free. I didn't have the words then, to express the concepts that I now understand. I wanted freedom to decide what was best for me without pressure or coercion. I wanted to eat cake for breakfast, and eat breakfast for dinner if I felt like it. I wanted to do the things that interested me and stop doing them when they no longer tickled my fancy. Silly me. Who was I to believe I could have anything I wanted? People would shake their heads at my ignorance and naïveté, and their knowing glances told me that they expected me to grow out of my youthful rebellious streak and fall in line. Well that part never happened, and in the instant that I tweeted my answer, I realized that the desire to be free has informed my life in more ways than anything else. This being the case, I want everyone else to realize that they're free as well. It's sad to see people who have given up on themselves, dismissing their dreams as nothing more than youthful folly: irresponsible, and selfish. To be sure, some of them are just that: We can eat candy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if we want, but we really shouldn't. I'll never learn to surf, nor will I be a gymnast because neither is that important to me anymore (plus I'm 6' tall and don't swim too well). I've released those things and I feel no remorse or regret. When I try to let go of things that still move me because I feel that I "should" want something different, it jabs at me like a rock in my shoe. I am unwilling to live with that type of discomfort.
I think we all have "work" to do, and things to give, and if we don't give our thoughts, our gifts, and our talents to the world, the world will not have them. Do your work, for you are the only one who can. Follow your appointed path. Be your own flower.