Bailey Kadian: Less adulting, more childhood dreams

Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - 5:42pm

At this point in my life, my gaze is fixed on what is ahead. New classes, new friends, interests and questions are moving me toward the next step. Whether that next thing is simply the reading I have for class tomorrow or, to the more distant future, graduation and grad school — I’m setting my course. 

While I progress toward the next dream (attainable or not), I’ve found it to be a valuable time for reflection. In pursuit of what is to come, I have revisited the dreams I abandoned along the way: past dreams that came from my childhood hobbies.

Back then, my way of thinking was very simple. It wasn’t always as structured and planned out as my life is now. My (hopeful) career in English started from my love for books at an early age. I didn’t know exactly where that would take me. At 6 years old I wasn’t planning for now. I was caught in the waves of my own simple dreaming, allowing them to guide me wherever they pleased.

I wanted to become a ballerina.

My weekly ballet classes were always packed with new music, skills and games. I loved the light pink slippers and soft tan tights. I grew a collection of leotards through my years of dancing, convinced I could never have too many. After overcoming my paralyzing case of stage fright, I even grew to love the spring recitals. Dance demanded energy and passion, both of which required an exploration into who I was and how I wanted to present myself to those around me.

Why now, at 20 years old, do I find myself reminiscing on a dream that is far gone and fairly irrelevant to my life now?

Because lately, in daily discussions of my future plans and goals, my past dreams have found their way back into my mind. While discussing this trend with friends around me who are facing similar life pressures of what life will be after undergrad, we all agree we have hobbies we wish we never quit. Friends of mine shared a vast array: piano, guitar, painting, ceramics, singing lessons and horseback riding. That isn’t to say what I am studying now or investing time into isn’t fulfilling. But recently, I’ve done a great deal of thinking about the hobby I wish I had never let go.

Two questions have emerged from the data collected from my small sample pool: Why did we give up these hobbies in the first place? And why are we now faced with some form of regret toward the decision to move on from our Tuesday night ballet classes or Sunday afternoon piano lessons?

In the midst of school, homework, team sports and clubs, there are always things we decide we must “let go.” I decided to spare myself of activities requiring personal, artistic expression in exchange for fully pursuing academics.

The problem is that the majority of the hobbies we push aside are some variation of art. As dynamic and unique people, we must find ways to express ourselves and at a young age, and art is our escape. Art, music lessons and dance classes foster creativity in ways the classroom doesn’t offer.

Yet, it’s the first thing we part with when time runs out. We turn to stacks of textbooks and course packs, abandoning the hobbies our artistic selves so desperately need.

Now let me aim to address why there is some form of regret while reminiscing. I think the appeal toward our past hobbies arrives when we witness others engaging in a hobby they have mastered.

I have met so many different students at this university studying different types of art and I always wonder what my life could have looked like if my childhood hobby had become my career. Watching artists who have devoted their lives to their art form is inspiring. I think we look back to our past hobbies and wish we could have done more to reach that level.

This leaves me stuck: stuck in this mindset that I’ve reached my limit, stuck with the belief that anything I start now won’t produce the results of something I started years ago and could have further pursued.

No dream is dead until you let yourself kill it.

I think it’s time I tie on my ballet shoes, roll up my tights and allow my childhood dreaming to lead me to new paths of greatness — whether that is simply admiring a hobby I once partook in or engaging in something entirely new myself. The freedom to dream at age 6 is still available to me now. There is potential I haven’t tapped into yet — maybe more available to me now than ever before.