The question ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’ is a common one children and young adults hear. My college bound daughter hears it in every conversation – “so, what’s your major?”. But what about the forty-something rest of us. What do we want to be when we grow up?
Good data is scarce regarding how many times a person will change careers because it is difficult to determine what exactly constitutes a career change. Therefore, I will use my life as an example as I try to figure out why it is so difficult to answer the question- what do you want?
My first career, at the age of 21, was working law enforcement for the state of California. I switched to Realtor about ten years later, then research agriculture about 3 years after that. I have had three real career changes in my life, and I am still trying to answer the question ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’.
Starting this blog was due, in part, to my desire to be a writer. All my life I have enjoyed reading. I wrote children books for my brothers, then decided I didn’t have a talent for it when the books didn’t hold their attention. Looking back, I think it was a defect of the audience … not the reading material (sorry mom, but I’m pretty sure your sons are defective).
‘What do you want’ is a hard question to answer, partly because there is a certain amount of guilt attached to it. I have a beautiful, healthy family, a husband who fully supports my decisions (most of the time), and the opportunity to do whatever I want. Do I want to be a SAHM (stay at home mom), do I want to jump back into my career and continue advancing, or do I want to do something totally different? The real question is what is going to be fulfilling to ME. To answer that question, you have to know yourself.
I would love to do something that makes a difference in the world, change lives, triumph over evil, vanquish the dragon. Even if the dragon is just the two bottom teeth of a 5 month old baby.
I spoke to a friend yesterday who told me to focus on the things that really matter. Not how clean the house is – which is a good thing because right now my house is scary – or how quickly the Christmas decorations come down, but live life to the fullest by enjoying the moment. Stop trying to figure out ‘what next’, and enjoy what is.
I am going to take that advice. And make a chart (every decision is better with a pros and cons chart). Instead of asking what I want, maybe ask ‘what will fulfil my desire to be a hero and slay the dragon’?
Next course of action. Define the dragon. Be the hero. Clean the house.