The renaissance was a period that followed the dark ages that saw the flourish of the arts and saw the recycling and influence of ancient Greece and the ancient world on the art, thought and culture of the period. The word renaissance means rebirth. You see the renaissance was not only a period of rebirth of ancient knowledge and culture it was also a period characterized by scholars who learned a vast array of subjects and were intelligible in areas such as art, medicine, philosophy, science and so on. Leonardo Da Vinci is a great example of this.
What do you want to be when you grow up? This is a common question often asked absentmindedly to children and young men and women probably up until the culmination of their secondary education where in the Nigerian society you are supposed to have a fairly good idea of what you want to be and are probably guided by the classes you were good at or bad at while in secondary school. Over the course of my life and I believe there is still quite a way to go, I have wanted to be a Pastor, Medical Doctor, Nuclear Physicist, Mathematician, Professor, Writer, Poet, Philosopher obviously an incredibly wealthy man and of course an Engineer. I find it amazing that as I grow up a part of me still wants to be all of these things and then more. It’s like a crazy obsession, if you want confirmation read my about section. The path to becoming one, some or all of these things is still ahead of me and believe it or not, I am still trying to find out what I want to be when I grow up.
When I was a kid and growing up, my first recollections of a response to what I wanted to be when I grew up was that I wanted to be a pastor. Yes pastor, you know the fire breathing, gospel preacher who won souls for the cause of the Christ. This is probably the closest you will get to a Freudian analysis of why I always criticize pastors and religion, maybe because growing up as a kid they were my very first heroes, batman, superman and captain planet aside. I am actually yet to read Ake: the years of childhood by Wole Soyinka (On my to read list after a personal rebirth of fascination with our country’s very own Nobel Laureate) but from what I have garnered of the character called Wild Christian which is what he refers to his mother, I think I have a fairly strict mother who has wholeheartedly bought into the Christian franchise especially the evangelical, speaking in tongues, tithing and first fruits giving brand. Obviously I love my mother to death but my point is in those early years, a lot of my life and social life was centred around the church.
I was in Sunday school singing groups/choir, participated in bible opening competitions, knew a million and one memory verses, I might have participated in a few children’s dramas. It also did not help that I went to church about 3 times a week and a lot of friends I had pre-secondary school were from church. That said, I really did look up to the pastor of the church I attended. The man was highly articulate, must have been super intelligent and in contrast to other pastors I had encountered earlier on in my young years, he did not shout in the microphone which was something that irritated even my 6 year old self. “Mummy, why is pastor shouting into the microphone? Is it not supposed to make him shout?” “*Insert pet name* he is shouting because he is in the spirit…” Sigh.
My next port of call on the train of things I wanted to be when I grew up was a medical doctor. This was significant because It did denote the shift of my mental focus from religion to science. That and the irony that going to a Christian boarding secondary school put paid to my pastoral ambitions. My new medical ambition was aided by my grandfather, himself of the health and medical sciences. Up to this day it has been said that I have the manner of a doctor. It is a certain calm that pervades my aura that masks the conflict and scramble within. Eventually I went the path of the engineer.
Anyway, I have always wondered and it kind of bothers me why I can’t do everything at once. I guess that is the tragicomedy of growing up, even when you have chosen a field of study if you choose to pursue it further you have to specialize in one thing. Of course it is possible to do several things at once but for most people it is quite uneasy. Eventually even hobbies and things you love suffer. You are saddled with responsibility and along with that some of your childhood dreams get thrown off a cliff. I guess that’s the beauty of maturity. I still hold on to the hope of being many of the things I wanted to be growing up.
So dear readers, what did you want to be growing up? How does it match to where you are now? Are they things you wish to do? What are they? Why haven’t you done them? What are the multitude of things you would love to be if given a chance?