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Blog > December Writing Prompt: Childhood Aspirations

The writing prompts invite postcrossers to write about a different topic on their postcard’s messages every month. These are just suggestions though — if you already know what you want to write about, or the recipient gives you some pointers, that’s great too!

A lot of kids have really firm ideas about what they want to be when they grow up, whether it’s based on shows on TV or their day-to-day heroes… and we thought it would be fun this month to prompt people to share exactly that: what did you want to be when you grew up? Or if you’re still a child, what are your big plans for your future?

In December, write about your childhood aspirations.

As usual, I’ll go first! I think I had a lot of imaginings as a child about what I might do or be when I grew up: I’m sure I had my share of bizarre ones as a younger child. Hippo-keeper at the zoo, probably? Or giraffe-keeper in my parents’ back garden, since I wasn’t shy about wanting a giraffe for a pet—and I had an answer for every quibble, including volunteering our next-door neighbours to have a giraffe too so mine wouldn’t be lonely! Once I got a bit more realistic, I went through phases and thought about teaching, becoming a geneticist, maybe becoming a lawyer or a doctor… but I never really settled on one thing.

At the age of 31, you’d think I’d have it all figured it out by now, but I can’t say I have! I still have all kinds of dreams…

But now it’s your turn! What dreams do you or did you have as a kid? And did you achieve them—or something even better? Do you have a weird journey to share? From hippo-keepers to astronauts and everything in between, we’d love to see you share here in the comments… and if you’re stuck on what to write on your postcards, we hope this prompt inspires you to share!

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45 comments so far

ned44440, Ireland
To be an Air Hostess was my biggest ambition but I think I did very well to land a job in the Post Office and have been there almost 41 years now 😀
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Norway_girl, Norway
When I was around 4, I wanted to work with growing and selling flowers and other plants. But I've discovered later that it's a bad idea. I don't have green fingers at all. Later I wanted to be a chef, and after working on a kitchen for 3 days in 8th grade I decided that I never wanted to work in a kitchen again! Guess who ended up working in a kitchen for 4,5 years, in two different places?! Yes, that's me! I did also want to become a veterinarian, but that might not be a good idea when one doesn't want to cut and do surgeries?! :D
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Kathryn-CO-USA, United States of America
I thought I'd become a Nun...until 8th grade when I became interested in boys.
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ybur, Czech Republic
When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a singer or an actress. Later, I was very interested in history and foreign languages. When I read Marie Curie's biography, I thought about studying chemistry (we also had a great chemistry teacher at school :-D ).
I studied foreign trade (the only possibility to study properly other languages than Russian in socialist Czechoslovakia) and I worked in this area almost my whole working life.
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Leonie01, Canada
I wanted to be a film star when I was little or a photographer. I am a photographer now but I never made it as a ilm star. lol.
I grew up in London, England in a haunted house. The house was built after the war. WW11. It was built over a factory that was bombed and where many people died. I hated living there will so many bad things happening. I got married when I just turned 20 & was never haunted again although I do love to watch paranormal shows on TV. I now live in Ontario Canada. I love it here but I don't like winters here.
I was off Postcrossing for a while but I am back now & looking forward to sending & receiving postcards from around the world.
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Yullie, Indonesia
I thought of being a traveller. But since I realized that it needed a gread large of money, I might not afford it. So, I decided to be an English teacher, I might have chance to travel abroad with that language skills. And, in 1995, I was one of the team to Kuala Lumur. That was a big dream and it came true !
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Flippie, Canada
As a young dreamer, I wanted to something for other people. I became a nurse and later a recreation Therapist and worked my whole work-life with elderly. When I got older I always dreamed to own a flower-shop. I love flowers, love working with them. My retirement goal is to start giving workshops flower arranging! And When I met Winnie The Pooh in Disneyland for the first time I started dreaming working for Disney...I'm still dreaming!
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cpaige, Canada
I had a number of deams as a high school student. I thought about the Canadian air force to become a transport/helicopter pilot , teacher was on the list, to take up a trade or a firefighter. The reality was that I did apply at the Canadian military but didn't sign the papers as my grandmother and Mom were hoping I wouldn't, a teacher was 4 years at university and I wanted a good paying job right away and not wait. I made it to the interview stage three times for a firefighter but didn't make it over the top. I did take up a trade, bricklaying but broke my foot during the last month. All the apprentice positions were gone when I recovered. I found a job and started in a plywood mill at 19. I love it, its 41 years and counting. I did get to teach for a number of years as a Sunday school teacher, I did become a paid call/volunteer firefighter for 16 years. I have also did stone work and laid bricks around my homes that I have lived in!
It looks like I accomplished my dreams. Today 2 of my children are studying at university to become teachers.
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ZooDawg, United States of America
I used to want to be a veterinarian when I was little
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WattlePark, Australia
When I was a child there were 2 things I wanted, more than one pair of shoes and complete sets of my favourite books. Aunts and Uncles were great at giving a book for Christmas but the longed for next in the series never came.
Now I have several pairs of shoes of many different colours, and any children I buy presents for, yes you've guessed it, they get the complete set of books. Sometimes in one go or spread out, eg one at birth, then one for Christmas, Easter, Birthday until every book given - there are a lot of Thomas the Tank Engine books.
Naturally I also have the complete sets of my favourite authors on my shelves.
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy Christmas.
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reginalda, Australia
l wanted to be either a secretary or a writer when l was 12. Am neither.
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Sleep, United States of America
I actually never had a childhood dream about what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I did want to go to a special library but it hasn't happened yet, it's still on my to do!
Lovely prompt, I liked reading everyone else's dreams
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MagpieWarbler, Australia
I had two ambitions when I was a kid. One, a kindergarten teacher. And secondly, after doing a day trip with the school to a Catholic retreat centre/monastery (I was about 10), I wanted to be a Carmelite nun. After school I went to Uni studying Early Childhood Education, to be a kindy teacher. I dropped out after the first year. I realised that it was much more fun playing with paper and glue than it was teaching kids. But I did join a contemplative religious order (Buddhist, not Christian) and lived in a Buddhist nuns monastery for 3.5 years, and go on many 10 day silent retreats. The best adult years of my life.
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Liudmyla_Kh, Ukraine
I will bet that none of you had such a childhood dream! As a child, I dreamed of becoming a janitor :). We had in our yard a strict janitor, aunt Julia, all child considered her the biggest boss :). A little later, I wanted to become a doctor. But after school I got the profession of a nurse. Later, fate changed my plans and I had to work as an accountant.... for many years. And now it would be most interesting for me to work self-employed, but just for the soul, creating beautiful souvenirs at my leisure :).
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shucho, Japan
I'm 12 years old now.
My dream is to become a writer or a nurse.
I love reading books.(I'm a big fan of Harry Potter)
I want to make people happy.
But actually, I want to be a witch.
(it's my secret!!)
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volvomom, United States of America
I always wanted to be an astronomer. I had a telescope, a star gazing log, and followed Carl Sagan's works (TV and books!) constantly. However, when I got to middle school and joined the Astronomy Club, sexism hit me head on. Myself and another girl were in a group of twelve as the only females. We were told by the teacher that, "We could work on our own" as "we probably wouldn't last." I was crushed. The other girl left after the first meeting. I held on for three or four, after being silenced to a solo desk and laughed at each session.

I may have given up astronomy, but it led me to pursue a desire for equality. :)
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TuHsiYi, China
I am 15-year-old girl.
I want to be a doctor because my mother is a doctor.
I also want to be a singer and I am writing some song now.
If I can , I want to be a movie star......
I have a lot of dreams.
I will try my best to make them come true.
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ALFAVIT, Russia
My dream changed very often. at one time, as a child, I wanted to be an astronaut, a firefighter, later a professional hockey player, and even a rock musician. I ended up becoming an economist:)
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Alexander9179, Russia
And I, probably like all children in the USSR, wanted to become an kosmonaut ...
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Penpal, United States of America
For the longest time, I wanted to be a writer. As a child, I enjoyed reading a lot and wrote well, so becoming an author seemed to be a natural progression from there.

Now, I'm studying biology in college and I'm much less certain of what I want to be. I seem to be leaning towards conservation or research, but there is so much that is interesting to me that it's difficult to choose.
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Gyuzel, Russia
I wanted to become an actress. Now I am a pharmacist, but I still dream ...
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Aj73, United States of America
I wanted to be a physical therapist or in some kind of medical field. I took Medical Terminology in business college. After leaving school my first job was with an insurance company in Seattle, Washington. From there on, my work was basically in the insurance industry one way or the other. I became a licensed agent only so I could discuss insurance coverages with our customers. As the computer industry started to grow and our agency started using a software program for insurance, I ended up working at the software company. I assisted customers with problems and questions. I eventually moved to the Custom Program department working with the programmer and client to develop specific insurance software programs. I'm now retired and now I dream and wish I would have chosen a field in Forensic Science.
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ClareBerlin, United Kingdom
I wanted to be a vet. But when I was about 8 I realised it involved the ending of lives as well as the cuddly furry aspect of the job. Also you had to be good at science - which I wasn't. I now have 5 rescue cats which is my contribution to looking after animals.
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alison41, South Africa
I dreamed of being a ballerina - never mind that I was round and short! I should have been a writer, but way back in the olden days, this wasn't a career option for girls. I soldiered on for years in a huge variety of office jobs and now I'm retired, I blog away to my heart's content. And read. Lucky me!
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Heepy, United States of America
I wanted to be a writer. After decades of "the stuff that happens while you make other plans," I did become a writer. I sustained myself for a few years with just writing because of health and economical issues, but I almost hated it because I was doing it non-stop just to stay afloat.
I am still a writer, but I only do it for a few hours each week now.
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edgar_allan_bo, Germany
From what I can remember, my first "dream" as a very young boy was to become a garbage man. °___° Yes, a garbage man. I loved watching them and their huge trucks. =D Especially the guys at the back, hanging on and riding on a truck like that. =O I was very very impressed...

But then... during the years, I've lost track of my dream, and when the school & education system was finished with me, I found myself in an office, doing some corporate business law stuff. How unromantic. =p

I wanted to change something.

One day, I just went outside, and spoke to a first person I came across, asking them what kind of job they do and how I can be of any help. On the very next day, I was sitting on a bright yellow bicycle, delivering postcards, letters and junk-mail to other people. =D That was over 2 years ago, and I'm still there.

As for my childhood-dream, maybe it's better not to put it into reality, for it wouldn't be a "dream" anymore. =)
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Riinka, Finland
What a fun topic! I had several different childhood dreams, from being an actress to being a police officer to being a train driver. However, my most remarkable aspiration was to become a novelist - a horror novelist, specifically :) When I was in the 1st grade in elementary school, we got a drawing task during art class concerning what we want to do when we grow up. In my drawing, I was a 45-year-old published horror novelist working on her next script. I still can recall my teacher's words after 28 years: "Good God, if I happen to be alive at that point could you please bring me one of your books?" :D
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tumbleweed, Germany
Toward the end of my school years I wanted to become a teacher. Lucky for me I realized in time that my expectations of my students would be much too high! Because I love languages I later studied linguistics and have spent my whole working life in acadamia. I love my job but I still dream and what I want most right now is working in a job that focusses on environment proctection.
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farheen_shaikh, India
It was my dream to be a Astronaut and wanted to work for NASA !! But each and every dream is not possible as we wish. Then I felt like to be an veterinarian where I could help for the animals. Even I dreamt that to work at administrative services where I can serve for people. For this I am trying and preparing for some exams.. but for present I am working as lecturer in an engineering college. Wanna be more focused on my dream so that I can achieve it. ❤
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ahnparis, France
I love this thread! I wanted to become a ballerina, or a singer or a teacher. I'm a teacher who takes dance classes when she has the time , and I guess I have an audience at work which makes up for the celebrity dreams :) I also dreamed of travelling, which I've done quite a bit although not as much as I'd want to but ther's stil ltime ahead I guess..
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Joerg1971, Germany
Beginning in the years of my childhood I had yet interest in history and archeology and it was my dream to find work in archeology and and to make this one "sensation for life" by finding some worthful archeological objects like a treasure anywhere in a forgotten town or in the ruins of an old castle ... Lateron I even could study archeology (prehistoric archeology), but I found out that a tooth or a piece of a bone of a human living some million years ago can be a quite more a treasure for the history of mankind than any gold or silver ... Today I work as a historian and free journalist and I've found with my job yet different treasures simply by reading and exploring the old documents and finding out this way so many fascinating details about all-days life in earlier times - especially of the "unknown ones" in the population without a famous name ...
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betslets, United States of America
When I was a youngster, I dreamed of having a home with more than one telephone, t.v. or bathroom. (For those who had these things, were "very rich" indeed, in my opinion) As a teen, my father put me to work, after school and on weekends, on the telephone switchboard at the hotel he managed. It didn't take long before I was very tired of phones.
As for an occupation, I thought of being a professional writer -- on the high school newspaper, I contributed a feature story on various teachers and what they wanted to be when they grew up...totally different from how their stories ended. But, now I've grown a lot older, and I've succeeded in having a home with more than one t.v. and bathroom (still only have one telephone, thank you) AND, I write postcards to people...which I think is much more fun than having a "writing job". Stay safe and well...keep dreaming, folks!
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postmuse, United States of America
I wanted to be a librarian or architect (though I didn’t know that word ... I thought house builder). My sisters and I used to play Library when other kids played House. And I spent HOURS outside building floor plans for homes from pine needles.
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postmuse, United States of America
And reading the comments has made me smile more than I have in a while
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Benny_NeutralChaotic, United States of America
My childhood dream was to become a university student. The dream of pursuing higher education at a younger age manifested in a trip to the University of Houston my grandpa took me on when I was four years old at the time. Just seeing the architecture students work on mini houses and engineering students working on their projects had me in awe. My grandpa bought me a mocule set so I can "study" like the rest of the students. On that day, I swore to myself I would be just like those students. However, it wasn't an easy journey for me. I didn't do well in elementary school. In fact, some teachers thought I didn't have the ability to learn at all, which led them to believe I had a learning disorder. Conquering this type of adversity was hard because I was just their little girl fighting against the thoughts and beliefs of respected authority figures.

There were times when this got to me and it made me believe I wasn't good enough for college. However, I did find a few teachers who saw the potential I had and they helped me grow stronger every day.

This month, I will be graduating from the University of Houston. I will be graduating with a B.S. in Digital Media with honors. I'm so proud of who I've become. I think my younger self would be too ;) I would have never done it without the help of people who believed in me.
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ezredax, United States of America
Hi All,

I was always intrigued by the great Wall of China. And wanted to walk upon it. I finally got to do that at age 70. One of the great experiences of my life, other than having my children.

We all make promises of when we grow up we won't do this or we will do that.

When I was a child my mother would purchase a case of cabbage for us to eat for the week. Before it went bad she would make sauerkraut. I promised myself that I would never eat sauerkraut again when I grew up.
This is the one promise I kept. :)

Enjoy the day and stay safe in these troubled times,
Demaris
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PaiviM, Finland
I have always liked very much nature and animals. When i was small I wanted to become vet. We always had dogs at home but I also liked to take care of caterpillars and lizards and frogs, I even had a magpie once that could not fly yet. When older I had the idea to study biology but finally I studied economic geography and economics and became a teacher. After more than 30 years of teaching soon retiring!
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gforp, Denmark
Let’s see. As a child I wanted to be either a teacher, postman or a ... bartender and I always dreamt and played travelling with my cousins. I am 65 and I used to teach for quite a few years. I have been postcrossing for over 15 years and I definitely made several postmen busy. I also made friends with several bartenders and got some great drinking memories. Travelling ... I have lived in Poland, Uzbekistan, Sweden, Denmark, US, UK and Germany so I can say all my dreams came through :) Well, I am still dreaming ...
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orange_memo, United States of America
My dream changed very often. at one time, as a child, I wanted to be a famous painter and sculptor (I love painting a lot), then I was aspiring to be an architect, later at high school, I wanted to be as a Chemist (Pharmacist as my aunt), and even when I studied chemistry as my college major and graduated with honour and top of my class, I couldn't switch to Pharmacy due to stupid preferential academic laws in my country. I ended up becoming a banker :)
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wordenjk, United States of America
I had many dreams as a child. I wanted to be a stuntwoman but found that a fear of heights could be limiting in that career, soooo....

I wanted to be an Olympic Horseback rider, but I found out you had to be as proficient at dressage as you did at cross-country jumping and I was never going to be that patient. I was really only interested in riding full speed over the countryside and jumping whatever came up in my path, while putting my parents into an early grave and single-handedly keeping the local emergency room in business. I did ride for many years, then when I got too old to jump (it started to hurt when I fell off, ugh), I flipped that dream into volunteering with equine therapy for disabled children and veterans, so I think I kind of achieved that one, just without the TV appearances and medals.

I wanted to be an artist/ art conservationist. I did not get to follow that dream - my parents talked me out of it with dire predictions of starving in the streets and having to shave my head because of the lice (I never looked good with short hair). I did spend some time as the business manager for a fine art installation and custom design shop though, so I got to handle a lot of art. I make fun postcards. So I achieved this dream too, kind of.

So far I have not found a job entitled "Pet Floofy Animals and Drink Coffee While Reading Books". I would be the CEO of that company. :) In short, while taking a long time to say it, I think I have gotten my dreams, just in a roundabout way. It is very different dreaming at 25, 30, 40 etc than it is at 5, 10, 15. A good example is that I never, ever dreamt of having children; I did not want them. I now have two sons, aged 10 and 12, who are the most amazing people I have ever met. Had I stuck with just my childhood dreams, I would have missed out on some pretty significant new ones as I got older. I plan to dream until I die!!!! (I am not, however, ever going to be a stuntwoman. That ship has sailed.)
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doryfera, Canada
I wanted to become an astrologer because I imagined it involved spending my time lying on the lawn looking up at the night sky and marvelling at its beauty.
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MiaBerlin, Germany
You all have such down-to-earth ideas :D
I *always* wanted to be a magician. Until today. Real magic to make the world a little bit more "fair". Today I do magic in the office... but I'm very happy with it ;)
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insomniac4ever, United States of America
Here is my little 9 yrs old girl's dream about what she wants to be when growing up:

At first, she wanted to be an artist drawing art pieces. But shortly after that she realized it is very hard to support herself financially. Now she wants to be a Marine Biologist and started to watch documentary movies such as Blue Planet etc.

As for me, I didn't have a very clear idea of who/what I wanted to be when growing up. But one thing I'd love is to explore unknown. That drove me to travel and to live my life here in United States. During past 10 years, I almost lost myself and stop exploring for quit a long time. But surviving through 2020, I realized how important it is to be yourself and don't afraid to step up for adventure. Live your life to the fullest. This is the important lessen that I learned from a New Yorker friend recently.

So please don't stop dreaming my friend.
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ranee49, Australia
When I was young I wanted to be a trapeze artist. I thought nothing could be better than the freedom of flying through the air like that. As I got into my mid teens, I thought I'd like to be a vet as I've always loved animals but I was never very good with any of my science subjects. After working as a lab assistant for a couple of years I started to work in the disability field and worked in direct support for 40 years before retiring.
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Highrisk, France
Very young me: to become a farmer and work with animals.
À little less young me: to become a vet to work with animals.... Wait, do vets actually open up animals too? Yurk!
After that : the dinosaur phase!! Let's become an archaeologist, No, wait, a paléontologist! Discovering about long dead strange animals!

Later, watching documentaries on TV : wait, there's a job where you can be paid to actually study animal behaviour in the wild? Ok, I want to be an etologist!

Ho, to be an etologist you need to study science, and I suck at it...

Then, for a few years I knew that I didn't know what I wanted to do in life, until I had to choose what studies I wanted to do. I love languages, but I love art too, and I have made art from an early age... Let's study visual arts!

God, being an artist is so hard and it basically means being poor, I need an actual job or I'm going mad!

Hmm, I love sculpture, I love old buildings, and I hate working in an office.
28 years old me: let's become a stone mason!!
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