When I was growing up the answer to this changed no doubt like it did for many people. From an early age it was to be a guitarist/singer – that was the dream. With the splitting of the Beatles it was clear Paul and or John would seek me out (I was 8) and form “The New Beatles” around me and I’d perform on big stages in my blue paisley woolly pyjamas rather than in my bedroom in front of the mirror miming to their songs on the radio… hmm… moving on (should I just have admitted to all that?). Briefly in the early 70s I was going to be the next Peter Osgood starting my career at Gillingham before moving to Chelsea but I couldn’t even get picked for the school team so that put paid to that, and I spent the next few years chucking myself about a rugby pitch where I had enthusiasm at least if not talent and was constantly a first team selection in the back row. Then for a time I wanted to join the RAF and become a pilot – I wanted to fly English Electric Lightening’s challenging the Russian Bear bombers as they patrolled off the UK coast in those tense days of the cold way in the 70s/80s. From 11/12 onwards it was back to music and a guitarist I would be clearly one day I’d be mentioned in the same sentences of my heroes. Sadly I’ve never been good enough or really dedicated enough if I’m honest – I know a lot about music and guitars but not enough to be truly outstanding as an original artist.
Then reality hit about 16 and I was going to be an engineer briefly before I realised I didn’t really like the course, so back to school for A levels and a career in computers seemed a good idea, they were the future I thought about 79/80 – I wasn’t wrong and so with an HND in my back pocket 30 years as an IT professional have followed because there was always work and it brought in a wage for me to live comfortably and raise my family – it also provided a ready money source to fuel my vice(s).
But then really the IT thing was only suppose to be a stop gap until I got the music career off the ground… I thought so for many a long year. Now I’m 50+ and still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up – I’m working on being a counsellor but still not certain of my trajectory with that totally at the moment.
One dream though I never had was an ambition to be an alcoholic, to end up unable to cope with the life I did inherit without booze in my system, for the bloody stuff to occupy my every waking hour, planning to get it, drinking it, trying to cope with the effects of drinking with it and maintain a façade of a normal person without a drink problem etc. etc. I never desired to spend my evenings in back rooms of churches and village halls with others who are fighting the demon drink on a daily basis years after the last drop of alcohol had passed my lips.
However, actually I can’t deny to being in a way happy that I did end up here – truly I’d love to have not been an alcoholic but I am and I’m one of the small number of lucky ones who’ve found a way out of it’s clutches.
Now to figure out what I’ll be when I grow up… do you think the opportunity at Chelsea might still be there? Rises stiffly from the chair rubbing the ache in my hip… probably not …