I remember wishing with all my might, at the age of 5, for a public library near home. Just so I could: 1. borrow 8 books without having to lug my bag too far, and 2. go look for my favorite books, anytime I liked, between the hours of 10am to 9pm. Mom would take me to the library, leave me there for an hour, and come back looking for me at the kids’ section. I’d have spent the hour at non-fiction, looking through the animal collection. She’d have to wait another hour or two before we’d leave.
I remember being one of the first kids, maybe even the only kid, at the age of 8, who knew that a killer whale was a dolphin, not a whale. And that dolphins were mammals, not fish. And how everybody called me bluff. This was before Science was taught in school.
I remember most of my friends calling me a ‘tree-hugger’. We were 11. They literally thought I loved nature so much, I went around hugging trees.
I remember promising myself, at the age of 13, that I’d work hard so I could become a marine biologist. And how devastated I was when I found out that there wasn’t much of a marine biology industry in Singapore, that I’d have to take biology in school, and that biology in school involved dissecting animals. Then making another promise that whatever it would be, I wouldn’t stray too far away.
For a long time, I lost that dream. I stopped going to the library to learn about them. I grew older and life took over.
Now, on the cusp of whatever-kind-of-self-discovery-this-is-turning-out-to-be, I remember.
If it’s what you truly want, it shouldn’t cause so much pain. If you’re that crazy about it, you’d be willing to give up everything. If the path is the one you sincerely wish to take, you don’t constantly look back and think, “What if?”
If it’s for ever, the thought wouldn’t tire you so.
I remember now. I’d always wanted something that was not just for myself.
I choose you, childhood dream.