By Ahmet Abdulaziz …..
I am talking about our childhood. Each of us would dream in our childhood of what we should become when grown up. This is a fact that none of us deny. For sure, most of us usually forget by pushing them back in our consciousness. But I am sure such an effort never leads to forgetting those sweet memories of our childhood.
Like everyone I can retrace my memories, to re-live those sweet dreams of my young age.
Here I am discussing the dreams of my childhood, about what should I become when grown up.
When I started to re-trace my old memories in my mind, to find answer of my this question, I came across a chain of my dreams and ambitions, which kept on shifting due to various reasons.
I can see myself in my memory, arguing with my elder brother, when I was perhaps in the first or second class of primary school. At that age, I had found the profession of a bus conductor as a most fascinating one. So I had decided to become a conductor of a bus, with my elder brother being the driver. It was interesting that I had realised that I would not be driving the bus. Of course I was smart enough to establish that I could be a conductor of a bus only if my elder brother is a driver. No one else would take me as conductor.
The reason for all this was perhaps our weekly bus trip to our grandparents house, in a different area of the city. I do not know how and why I dropped this idea, but I know it never surfaced as I grew up.
As I grew up a little more, I remember I had decided to become an artist (painter). There was no doubt I was very good at drawing and in pencil colouring. I wanted to be an artist, but never had any idea about how I was supposed to become an ultimate artist. My father had been very cooperative in this, and had bought me some good art books, to learn drawing of the human body etc.
In those years (1960s), every child would become either a doctor or an engineer. Although my parents had never showed their intentions about deciding my ultimate profession, they were eager to see me completing my studies up to university graduation. They had never thought of making me an artist (painter), however they helped me a lot to continue it as a serious hobby.
Then one day, my grandmother discussed this issue with me. I was perhaps in the sixth or may be fifth class then. She told me that artists (painters) usually lead a very difficult life, since it is very difficult to build a reasonable life by just drawing and painting.
I must have been disheartened by this, but I think that day I decided not to become a professional artist and to continue it as a serious hobby.
Looking back, I see myself dreaming of becoming an air force pilot. That was the second half of 1960s. In those days I had read many articles about the bravery of air force pilots in the last war. I had watched a couple of movies about aeroplanes, etc.
This dream of mine became a serious desire when I visited my maternal grandparents in Warsak, near Peshawar city, in the northern part of Pakistan in 1968. I was in ninth class at that time. My maternal grandfather was a civil engineer by profession, and he was posted by the government department he was attached to, as maintenance officer in the residential colony of Pakistan air force, situated just next to the Warsak Dam.
I visited them during my school holidays. There I got chance to meet a number of air force pilots, and their families. The whole environment had made me crazy to join the Air Force.
But there were many hurdles in my way at that time. One should have studied science subjects in school, to apply for a GD Pilot in the air force. But I had already joined the commerce section in the school, where I was not studying the subjects needed to apply for GD pilot. The air force was not accepting commerce graduates.
But one day I found the way opened for me to apply for GD pilot in the air force. For once a rare time that had provided a chance to commerce graduates also to apply for entry. I was more than happy to apply, but unfortunately I failed at the first step, due to various medical deficiencies which I had. Thus my dream of becoming an air force pilot ended.
I admit that though I spent years playing on drums, becoming a musician or something in the field of music was never my dream. I was in music just because I liked it. I was perhaps never emotionally attached to music. I loved playing music, but only when I had to play. Drums and guitars are still my favourite musical instruments, but my interest in them never went beyond a specific level.
I had never thought of becoming a chartered accountant in the early stages of my life, but during my last year of bachelors in commerce, I had found options open to me for further qualification in the field. One was Masters in Business Administration and the other was Chartered Accountancy. That was the point when I was undecided. My father came to my rescue. He had put his weight in favour of Chartered Accountancy. So I started my professional life by joining a local Chartered Accountant firm in 1974 as an Articled clerk (Trainee auditor). I am happy to be a Chartered Accountant.
I became one of the youngest Chartered Accountants in those days, at the age of 24. I enjoyed the next 17 years when I worked in the field attached to the same firm of Chartered Accountants. I had always been a happy guy who never took anything very seriously in the otherwise very sober and serious profession. Those were indeed wonderful days of my life.
With all this inter-mixing of of my dreams, my goal to become a runner is still as fresh as it used to be during 1980. This dream surfaced in 1979 when I completed my studies. I had done my chartered accountancy. I had completed my studies, every time getting good marks and positions. But to achieve that goal I had put back my desire to be an athlete. I wanted to be a hockey player when I was in school, but that too could not be materialised due to various reasons. So once I was free of the burden of my studies, I reverted back to the ground, with the new dream of becoming a long distance runner.
That was 1979, and now exactly 40 years have passed, and I am still dreaming of doing many things in the field of long distance running. Athletes usually try to be a fast runner. Their achievements have always been to compete and get a better position by reducing their times. But mine is different. I do not compete. I do not want to run fast. I never wanted to win a race. In fact this peculiar behaviour reflects my realisation of my strength and abilities. I know I cannot run fast. I know I cannot run continuously. With all these deficiencies in hand, I became a slow runner, who runs and walks.
So I have been running and walking for long distances for the last 40 years. My speed is still the same as it used to be during the 1980s. I know that’s my limit, so I never try to force myself to run fast. All I try to do is tax myself to cover more and more distances. Many times I have run/walked for over 80km in a day, which is almost two marathons in a day.
In this field my ultimate dream is to create my personal record of finishing 365 marathon distances (42 km) in a period of 365 days. This may seem awesome, but it is my dream.
With all these dreams coming and going out of my young life, there had been one single constant dream that never left me. That was the dream to go and live in Turkey. It was a dream that I had at the age of 17, and would materialise only when I reached the age of 36. Maybe that was the only dream of my young age that I succeeded in turning to a real life achievement.
The process of dreaming and making future goals is a constant process which never stops. As I am over 63 now, still I have new dreams and new ambitions. Let’s see where my dreams lead me to.