When I grow up, I want to be....

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

This is a common question that we start asking kids right about the time they start kindergarten (or so it seems). On any given day you'll hear things like "teacher," "astronaut," "president," "football player," or "actress." All nice professions within reach of most kids (well, OK...maybe a professional athlete or actress is a stretch for "within reach" but let the kids dream, right?)

When I ask my daughters what they want to be when they grow up my oldest says a teacher and the youngest just looks at me as if I'm crazy. Perhaps I am.

But enough about the kids.
Ask yourself the same question: What do YOU want to be when you "grow up?"

Yes, I do realize that we are all "adults" and therefore have "grown up" for all intents and purposes. But, it's still a valid question. What do you want to be?

When I was growing up I wanted to be (in no particular order): an archaeologist, an actress, a television news anchor, a writer, a lawyer, a professional figure skater, and a newspaper reporter. The most logical choice in that list - and the one I enjoyed most - was writer/newspaper reporter and so, I majored in journalism in college.

Then, I hated the newspaper I worked for after graduating college. So I quit that job and moved home and decided I wanted to be a lawyer. The bar exam had other plans for me, and well... after thinking about it, I didn't really want to be a lawyer.

So then I wore many hats in many different jobs. But still I didn't have a "career."

I had an inner struggle a couple years ago when I lost a job that I truly enjoyed. I struggled a lot with the demise of my job, not only because I had to wallow in the sorrow of it for SIX very long months from the time they told me until the day the job was gone, but also because I felt like a failure. I even blogged about it - how I was 36 years old (at the time) with no CAREER. Not just a woman without a job, but a woman without a career.

At the time, that seemed important.
To have a career.
To be on some fast track to something.
But in the last couple of years I've had a change of heart.
Maybe that word "career" isn't so important in the grand scheme of things.

In my lifetime I've been a newspaper reporter, a civil rights intern, an association executive, a college instructor, an editor, and a communications manager. It's a lot of jobs and a lot of titles, but none of them made a "career."

And you know what?
I'm OK with that.

You want to know why?
Because I know what I want to be when I grow up.
I want to be what I am right now.
I am a wife, a mom, and a writer.
I am happy.

I might not have one of those "lifelong careers" where at your retirement party you can say "I've been a [insert job here] for the last 40 years and I've loved every minute of it!" But I have the best job in the world. I'm a mommy. I'm a chef and a short order cook, a taxi driver, a laundress, a booger wiper, a homework checker, a cheer mom, and a dance mom. I'm a wife, a partner, a constant source of nagging about something (what? it's true and I'm OK with it). And, I'm a writer. A blogger. A tweeter.

And most importantly, I'm happy.

Sure, I need to find a job that helps pay the bills. But I'm no longer looking or longing for a career. I found my lifelong career - mommy - and while it might not pay enough to cover the mortgage, the perks of the job are awesome.


  1. Another great post. Nothing beats the job of a mom!!

  2. Nice! Tell me, was the job you loved college professor?



  3. Jud - thank you! While I did love being a college instructor, the job I loved (and lost) was in marketing at a local university. :)

  4. I know this blog-post is a year old, but I had chanced by it and felt I needed to answer your question.

    I'm 21 so I already know I can not boast of being an 'adult' because I haven't really experienced the good bulk of life yet. But I can relate to being asked "What do you want to be when you grow up?". For me this was (in order): student, father, massage therapist, musician, actor, playwright,orphanage parent, occupational therapist, and doctor. I remember being asked first by teachers, then parents, friends, and finally, myself. Every time I was asked I had a different answer, but one day after I decided to take a break from college work and lay on the ground, looking up at the stars, I noticed something. I saw that the Earth moved slowly, the stars changed but so little at a time you would not notice it unless all you did was look at them. I realized that the only thing I REALLY wanted was to just live, nothing more, just be one with life and nature and relish in the precious moments of both.

    So I want to return a question. "What is a career?"

    To me a career is nothing more then a lifelong ambition to achieve what you really want in life. For some this may be getting a permanent job, owning a business, or fighting the fast pace lifestyle and surviving. For others it might be simple like raising children and passing on a small legacy. Yet furthermore it could be just living life and dying happy. I may not know a lot about life but what I have seen is a lot of people sacrifice happiness for security, when humans are most secure when they are happy.