When I was roughly 8 years old a schoolteacher asked the class what we wanted to be when we grew up. A question that is recycled a million times over and over again for kids to use their imagination and aspire to be something amazing. At the time I remember I was big into Karate after I sacked off ballet lessons and followed my brother into the sport of learning self-defence/beating the shit out of each other while wearing fancy pyjamas. So when the teacher asked the class our dream vocation… she said we should draw it. After no doubt a long and arduous debate over which crayons I should use, I decided when I grew up that I simply wanted to be some kind of Karate goddess! The picture I drew looked a little something like this…
I remember there were lots of buildings below me and I was a giant amongst them! I also may have been trying to start a fight with the sun! Looking back at that now of course it’s ridiculous… as I no longer have a ponytail BUT I was so sure that is what I wanted by any means necessary. Unfortunately I grew up... and after 3 years of Karate lessons and one totally unrelated broken leg later… I decided to give it up. Now I have been re-born as a sloth that struggles with fatigue when lying in bed and holding my phone above my head… gone are the days of throwing any Bruce Lee inspired punches.
When I was 8 the world was there for me to discover and eagerly anticipate with a sense of fizzy excitement. The kind of wide-eyed hysteria you see on the faces of children at a theme parks who OD’d on sweets or those who are allowed to push the trolley in Tesco for the first time. The possibilities that lay before me and the hope of playing a part in such a crazy unique universe was a rush for me. I could be anything I wanted… and ‘the future’ along with hover boards and the abolition of smelly homework… was going to be a fucking magnificent adventure!
However I wake up today as a 33 year old and scan the news headlines reporting on the horrendous terrorist attack in Paris. A heinous massacre carried out by a bunch of disgusting individuals who have a belief system that permeates mayhem and illogical retribution. This is the world we live in. A world where violence and the lives of innocent people are exchanged for the sake of attention seeking pricks wanting to scream the loudest.
The bubble of an ideal future I kept close to me growing up, has fallen into a shambolic competition for power and a misplaced ideology of equality. A pattern is forming and no amounts of prayers are going to stop it. Ironically it are prayers to the same person in the sky (who just so happens to have a different name depending on your religious team) and the misconstrued ‘words’ of your mate in the sky that is causing a lot of this senseless conflict.
I only pray that my 2-year-old nephew grows up with the biggest imagination and sense of possibility as he stumbles through life. I pray when his schoolteachers asks him what he wants to be when he grows up, that he draws himself as a giant amongst the world. And more than anything… I pray that our generation doesn’t fuck up this world to a point of epic disaster movie status… leaving a dystopian Hunger Games style future for kids who dared to dream big.