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“What did you want to be when you grew up?” is a question that either results in peals of laughter or an awkward silence.

Examining the past can be painful.  Few of us stick to the path we were sure was mapped out for us when we were young.  It can be hard to find your way back to where you think you should be going, especially when you’re dealing with anxiety and depression en route.

Repressed dreams can lead to depression.  We may opt to settle instead for an outcome that’s second, third or even fourth best.  When we do this, we lose a little of our authenticity – and when that happens, we sense failure.

As Allen Saunders said, “Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.” (Readers Digest, 1957).  John Lennon loved that quote so much he used in a song he penned for his son, Sean, entitled “Beautiful Boy” (from “Double Fantasy”, GEFFEN 1980).

How can you become ‘Authentically You’ and happier after years of going off-piste?  It’s never too late to work some of your dream magic into your everyday life.


Very few people end up being what they said they wanted to be when they were kids.  Not many of us still want to be what we said we wanted to be back then, anyway.

Forgive yourself – remember that you have made necessary choices over the years that have led you to this point.  There’s nothing wrong with that; it’s not failure.


Reach back in time and ask yourself, “Why did I want to be a fireman/Superman/a ballet dancer?”  It’s likely that there was something about that identity that exercised a natural gift you have.

An entrepreneur friend of mine always wanted to be an archaeologist when he grew up.

“There was something about the excitement of discovering old secrets and forgotten stories that really gave me a buzz,” James says.  “This was my thing, but there really wasn’t much career opportunity in that field at the time.  I listened to my parents and studied accountancy instead …”


You don’t have to make a career out of a dream to make it come true.  You can make a couple of small changes in your routine to give it life, though.  Grant yourself permission to be that little kid again, even if it’s for short bits at a time.

James did that.  In his forties, he decided that he was fed up with the “Wudda, cudda, shudda” feelings that he’d always harboured.  He researched his area for weekend archaeological digs that volunteers were encouraged to join and signed up.  He began to feel more alive during the week knowing that he had plans for the weekend that were plain fun.  He made new friends, too – some of them with far more alternative lifestyles to those of his colleagues.

A small move – hardly a career change … and it’s made him a much happier accountant, if not possibly a nerdier one.

Think about it:  what is one small change you can make to satisfy that ‘Authentic You’ after all this time?


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