What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up?

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Growing up, I always dreaded being asked, what do you want to be when you grow up? While a lot of my friends would respond they wanted to be a teacher, doctor, astronaut, or ballerina, I would spit out a random answer each time.

What do you mean being a zookeeper isn’t an option?

Why can’t girls be firefighters?

I was often met with disappointment at my lack of passion for my future career. 

There is so much pressure put on us from adolescence through our late teens to make up our minds about the rest of our lives.

Assuming I live to a nice ripe old age, let’s go with 90, that is more than 50 years’ worth of planning I would have to accomplish before my brain was even finished developing. 

Because of this, I grew up believing that life was linear. That if I worked hard in school, got a good job, and retired at 65, I would have successfully lived my life. 

That just no longer sounds appealing and unlike my peers, I took a gap year after high school. I didn’t do anything of substance other than get a part-time job. That year did reveal one thing to 18-year-old me, I wasn’t sure I would ever be ready to grow up.

So I kept working, kept trying to find that golden nugget. I kept waiting for a light bulb over my head to suddenly light up.

It never came. I did a year at a local community college and changed my major six times over two semesters. 

That’s right. Six times.

(If you’re curious, I started with Early Childhood Education, then Art, then History, then General Studies, then Art History, and finally communications.)

I then took a job as a nanny and found I loved working with babies. I met my now ex-husband not long after becoming a nanny and ended up married at twenty-two.

Despite the happiness, I felt at twenty-two, it was short-lived. By twenty-five, I ended what had become a borderline abusive marriage. I felt back at that dreaded starting point in my life. 

Except the question had become, “What will you do with the rest of your life?”

So I went back to school to figure that out for myself. 

I enrolled in Southern New Hampshire University’s online program and began working on completing my bachelor of English and Creative Writing. 

I liked the idea of working in traditional book publishing, but to be honest, I went back to school as an act of defiance against myself. To prove to myself that I could live my life on my own terms. 

So fast forward three years and I’ve earned my Bachelors of English and Creative Writing. Since I graduated a month ago, I’ve already decided that I do not want a 9-5, cubicle, or to work anyplace that isn’t my desk in my apartment. 

Which still feels terrifying to say. It goes against every belief I had growing up that life was linear. That the 9-5 was the only option and if I just worked hard, I could achieve some sort of happiness and sense of achievement. 

What’s so exciting, is the opportunity to make money on the internet. Although I am still figuring out exactly what that means and specifically, what that means for me. 

I just know that I want to write and read more books. To write more articles and to spend my days writing away about all of the things that I love and connecting with people who also share a common interest.

So that’s what I’m doing. So if you must ask, what do I want to be when I grow up?

I want to be a writer and a reader. I want to be somebody who is not afraid to live her life on her own terms. 

So, what about you? What do you want to be when you grow up?

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