When my youngest son was little, I used to go to water aerobics class to work out in the water. Any excuse to get in a pool; I seriously love to swim.
I didn't know anyone, so I just minded my own business, exercised against the resistance of the water, enjoyed feeling strong and buoyant, sunshine on my hair, the scent of chlorine in the air.
Well, I didn't entirely mind my own business, because I spent a fair amount of time eavesdropping on the conversations of two little old ladies -- and daydreaming about their lives.
They were schoolteachers near retirement who came to the pool to exercise, best friends from way back, and they were always full of stories of places they had just traveled. It seemed like they were always just getting back from somewhere.
Greece. Australia. A cruise through the Caribbean.
I never talked to them. I never even knew their names, but I listened to their stories. I wanted to be like them -- confident, secure, with a best friend by my side, adventures ahead as well as behind me.
It was in that pool that my dream of becoming a teacher was born, not of selfless desire to help people or spread knowledge, but to work nine months a year and travel all summer.