"What do you want to be when you grow up?" How many times do we get asked this as children? And then once we are no longer "children" we get asked "What do you want to study?" when we are headed off to college.
If I were a numbers person I would likely try to find a statistic on the number of people who fully change majors at least once while they are in college . . . I'm willing to bet it is a fair amount of students, but I will leave this to my lovelies that are numbers people . . . you know who you are! I did not fully switch, but I strongly considered changing my Sophomore year at Wright State, but today I can assure you all that I am very happy with my decision to stick with Creative Writing.
So, when I was a kiddo and got asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" for many years my answer was a therapist. I don't even know what exactly about this profession called to me, but for a long time that was what I was going to be. At my high school graduation party my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Davis, came with a small gift and an envelope that she asked me to open in front of her; it was a picture she asked each of us to draw in her class of what we wanted to be when we grew up. My picture was a desk and chair with a name plate on it that said 'Dr. Stephani Duff'- I can assure you all that my artistic abilities then are at about the level they are now- non existent! But this gift gave me a chuckle anyway . . . I feel like I was setting the sights a little high by choosing therapy . . . but I guess that kind of makes sense.
I am not too proud to admit that when asked that question at other times in my youth (because I'm really old now) some answers went like this: a singer, a Broadway singer, a ballerina, and I'm sure, hilariously enough, Ariel. (Do not judge me, people . . . I desperately wanted to be a red headed mermaid- it's a perfectly reasonable desire, mmmkay?)
Once I hit high school and took my first creative writing class my sophomore year, my wishes and dreams altered a little bit- partly because I was realizing with each passing year how deliciously sucktacious I was at Math . . . and anything that wasn't English, for that matter, and partly because I truly looked forward to creative writing everyday and it occurred to me that if I shall get paid to do something, I shall probably, ya know, like it.
As I entered my freshman year at Wright State I declared English with an emphasis in Creative Writing and was solid in that belief up until sophomore year; I began to question my goals and whether I was talented enough to accomplish anything within those goals so I began the process of switching to education with an emphasis in reading recovery. After epically failing at Praxis exams and wasting stupid amounts of money to take them, I decided that perhaps my boy, the late JC, was attempting to let me know I was making a mistake. Turns out, surprise-surprise, He was right. I stuck with Creative Writing and feel very sound within my decision.
The point of this post is not to discuss my goals alone, so . . . onto the point!
The other day I was talking to my Aunt Rita and she has decided to take some classes because she's "still trying to decide what she wants to be when she grows up" and it made me laugh, not because she is, for all intents and purposes, grown, but because life is so wonderful that no matter what age we are, we can still ask this question and come up with different answers. We live in a world and in a country that allows us to recreate our future steps when we see fit, we are allowed to reinvent ourselves as we see fit, we are allowed to have multiple degrees, become a student while working in the professional world, we are allowed to be whomever we want to be.
I remember when I was in junior high and still rode the bus, one of my girlfriends was talking about what she wanted to do when she grew up and her answers were fantastic and went something like this: "a teacher, a nurse, a wedding planner . . . I mean I can do all that, ya know? Why not, right?" And of course then, and now, I'm all "RIGHT!"
So, ask me what I want to be when I grow up . . . go on, then!
When I grow up I want to be a writer that releases books that readers will run headlong into, with a fevered desperation, I want to be a leader of a non profit, or two, I want to be a daughter that my parents are proud of, a sister that my brother still calls for advice, conversation, or to say 'love you, Sneff,' a friend that never wavers in her loyalty.
When I grow up I want to be one of those bad ass chicks that can rock Chuck Taylor's no matter her age and still looks kinda kick ass with all her tats.
When I grow up I want be someone that visits another city or country annually, I want to be bilingual, I want to be someone who has walls and walls and walls covered in photographs.
When I grow up I want to be someone with lists of goals to fulfill, someone who is never stagnant, in her career(s) or relationships, someone who is always chasing, sprinting, grabbing at passion and heat to fill her life with.
When I grow up I want to be a woman who has relationships with friends from her youth filled with long dinners overflowing with wine and conversation, I want to be a woman who still talks to those gorgeous blondes she used to take care of in college, I want to be a woman who smiles more than scowls.
When I grow up I want to be a better eater, an avid speed walker, an iced/hot tea junkie.
When I grow up I want to be happily married to the man of my dreams, happily parenting a precious child of my own, and maybe one I've adopted, happily spoiling the beautiful babies of my beautiful brother.
When I grow up I want to be a homeowner, I want to be a porch swing sitter, I want to be a library dweller, I want to be Belle- on her ladder sashaying from book lined shelf to book lined shelf.
When I grow up I want to be successful, I want to be an inspiration, I want to be a lover, I want to be loved in return, I want to be extraordinary, I want to be true to my heart.
When I grow up I want to be happy.
So whether you want to be a teacher, a doctor, a ballerina, or a mom- know that you can do any of these things, but especially understand you can do all of these things. I would encourage everyone, including myself, to never be done creating who you are- never be done setting the world on fire.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Go!