Monday, March 23, 2009

What do you want to be when you grow up?

When I was a freshman in high school, our English teacher asked us to write an essay about where our lives would be ten years in the future.  (She's still assigning this essay as of the '08-'09 school year.)  

I remember vaguely some of the highlights.  Let's see... I was rich, famous; an actress I believe. I think my mom may actually have the essay somewhere, I'll have to ask her.  But I digress. Without going into too much detail, let's just say that my life took a sharp turn from those grandiose plans. I've done a little bit of everything, interspersed with parenting and writing of course.  I've worked at a clothing store, a daycare, an elementary school, a newspaper, a garbage company, a masonry company (our bid at self-employment) and finally, high school volleyball coach.

Are any of those odd jobs 'what I want to be when I grow up'? Not really. Except maybe volleyball coach, I do really love that.  I'll be thirty five in a couple of months and it wasn't until I'd turned thirty four that I solidified in my mind that what I really wanted to be was a writer. Really and truly; not just a 'weekend warrior'.  I'm committed, for the long haul.  But it baffles the mind that now, in my thirties, I've finally decided on a path.

A lot of the kids in my daughter's graduating class have already changed their majors in this, their freshman year.  And when it comes up in conversation, I always say "Don't worry about it! I just barely decided what I want to do with the rest of my life." 

We expect so much from those fresh, eighteen year-old minds and they're hardly adults. I did more self-discovery in my mid to late twenties than any other time in my life so far. (But I'll be sure to update you after I hit my fifties) I even have friends with multiple degrees that don't have jobs related to any one of their specialties.  My husband, a jack of all trades if there ever was one, had been a volunteer fire-fighter for ten years before deciding that he'd like to make it his career.  And now at thirty-eight, he's been the fire chief for three years and despite the stress, loves his job.

I think that it all boils down to happiness.  Do what makes you happy. Whether it's nursing, fire-fighting, retail sales, teaching, bull-fighting, coaching, dentistry, writing or being a stay-at-home mom which let's face it, is the HARDEST job there is, follow your passion! If you wake up every morning with a yearning to make the most awesome frozen yogurt on the planet, then go for it! And if you still don't know what you want to be when you grow up.... it's okay.  It'll come to you.  Just listen to your heart!

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