What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

what do you want to be when you grow up, what is your passion

How often do you question and wonder about what role you want to be playing in the future? The thought about who I will be and what I will be doing in 5, 10, 15, even 30 years down the roads passes through my mind nearly every day. It’s the beauty of being human; we are constantly changing, growing, and propelling forward.

When we were little, the question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” was thrown to us from everyone we met.  My answer was always changing but the answer was always defined by the same constant – as a child, I chose my career choice based on what made me happy:

When I was 6 my answer was an elementary school  teacher. I wanted to follow in my mom’s foot steps and I liked to boss people around. But in hind sight I also liked sharing my newly learned tools with people. I’d spend hours setting up a fake school room and teaching my imaginary students that week’s spelling words or mathematical time tables.

When I was 11 I wanted to be an actress. I loved the way movies and plays made me feel, the power that actresses had to tell stories, to evoke emotions, and how they seemed to ignite with life.

At 13 I wanted to be child psychologist because I wanted to help children that couldn’t vocalize their pain or confusion. I wanted to help kids overcome unhealthy or dangerous environments and understand their thought processes.

At 15 I wanted to be an anthropologist/historian – I loved learning and researching about history – especially the history of society and domestic life. I wanted to learn more about trends and why certain aspects of history happened and continue to repeat themselves. I wanted to compare past narratives to current narratives, to learn more about the human race and our connections to the past.

At 18 I wanted to be a fictional write. Poetry, novels, short stories, screenplays, a playwrite. Anything. I wanted to examine people, analyze life, and write stories. I wanted to find common truths, common loves, common understandings of the meaning of life and communicate them  and connect with readers through words.

All of these fields were based on activities that I was deeply interested in and that made me happy. Yet, I never got paid to do any of those things. None of these jobs ever became my career. I don’t consider my current job my career. My job does not define who I am.  I believe my career is the life long pursuit of happiness.

So, when your career isn’t serving the purpose of fulfilling your passions you may feel a little disjointed. As you get older, your peers, elders, and family stop asking you what you want to do with your life. As an adult you are overcome with too many other daily questions and worries. Yet, the responsibility to ask “what do you want to be when you grow up?” now lies solely in your hands.

What is your passion? Don’t let it get lost in the mundane day-to-day responsibilities of life.  I recently received some great advice to examine your tears. Think about it. What makes you cry?

Reflect back on the past couple of years. What has never failed to make you cry tears of joy? (perhaps you’re not a crier like me, then think about what has made you laugh uncontrollably or get angry or mad?) Once you discover what that is, find a way to incorporate that into your every day life. Do a little piece of that each and every day.

Perhaps it will be a simple hobby or something you only think about a few minutes a day. Nurture it, believe in it. Perhaps it will grow into something greater. Pinpoint your passions and find a way to live them. You’re never too old.

So tell me, what do you want to be when you grow up?

xoxo Katie

  • “My job does not define who I am. I believe my career is the life long pursuit of happiness.” YES YES YES.

    • kwalshmac

      SO glad you agree. It is sometimes hard to be alone in this camp of thinking.

  • Your early childhood sounds a lot like mine. My sister and I, when I was probably six or seven, would set our dolls up at tupperware “desks” and “teach” them spelling and math! After that, I wanted to be a country singer, and a psychologist too. And I’m still asking myself what I want to be when I grow up, and I still don’t know! Because I know what I’d LIKE to do, it’s just a matter of having opportunities in the places we live. (Hint: Small towns are not where you should move to if you want to work in advertising! Therefore, I’m a freelance writer, because it’s as close as I could get for the time being.) 🙂

    • kwalshmac

      Fun! I had so much fun playing school with my dolls and imaginary students. My mom was a first grade teacher and always gave me her second hand teaching supplies/posters/stickers/other fun things! As far as your job, you are kind of limited with where you live. Totally get that. All that matters is that you feel content with how you are spending your time and what you are putting out there in the world. Hopefully that is true!

  • This is me, my career is not my passion or my life. It pays the bills. If you looked at all the things I wanted to be it would probably serve as a nice career guide for students, hehe. But I think finding happiness and contentment is a good goal, as well as incorporating my passions into the everyday. I just wish we didn’t live in a world so driven my ‘career’ and working to the bone! We should all take time to enjoy life a little more!

    • kwalshmac

      I’m so glad you concur. I also wish we didn’t live in such a career driven society either. It makes little sense. Let’s move to Europe, what do you say?!

  • Oh my, I LOVE the “my job does not define who I am”. This is so good! 🙂 When I was little I wanted to be a princess then a vet and I’ve wanted to be a journalist since I was about ten. Still chasin’ that dream ten years later 😉

    • kwalshmac

      Thank you, I always hate the question, “And what do you do?” – I do MANY things, most of them outside of my job. I’m glad you agree! Keep chasing your journalism dream! (and I think we’re all princesses at heart 🙂 )

  • My job doesn’t define who I am either. I always give kudos to those who have always known what they want to “do with their life” and are doing exactly that, but I think those people are the exception. When I was younger I always had big dreams of being an actress too. Now I would love to own my own little pet shop one day, and enjoy a simple happy life. Does that mean I’m getting old?

    • kwalshmac

      Oh I think owning a little pet shop and living a simple life sounds perfectly fabulous! I don’t think that means you’re getting old – just that you know what you want and you don’t need a lot to be content. I think there is a lot of joy in the simple life. I hope you get whatever makes you happy.