How to figure out what you want to be when you grow up, without growing up.
The aroma of uncracked books and burnt coffee surrounds me. I sit with my legs propped up, hair curled, heels on in the bookstore, writing. Fuckin heels. Who is this girl? Technically whatever I “have” to today doesn’t HAVE to be done. I mean, I’ll get to it, but just knowing I have that leniancy relaxes my muscles. Today I’ve gotten up early, cleaned the house, sipped my overpriced coffee, met with friends, got in some work, and plan to go out and photograph myself in the sunshine later.
A year ago I LONGED to say that was what my day consisted of. I felt trapped because I couldn’t do those things. And now here I am, doing exactly that, and I feel… lost. I find myself always asking- What’s my purpose? What am I working towards? What am I doing with my life?
I’ve built up who I am around my job, my dreams, my goals, the ego, the material things of life. I’m not afraid to say that. And in my defense, I don’t think it’s entirely my fault. That’s how we’ve been programmed.
In school they ask you WHAT you want to be when you grow up, not WHO. Everyone tells you to go to college, and if you don’t know for what, just get your basics in. When you meet new people they get to know who you are by asking you, “What do you do?” and we answer that with “X INSERT YOUR JOB HERE X.”
A few years ago I went to a party and asked someone that exact question, “So what do you do?” and their answer was, “Do you mean in life, or what?”
I had never gotten that response before. At first it hit me as rude. Then I realized, it was the perfect answer for a ridiculous question. When asked, I really didn’t care about their job, I DID want to know the things they were passionate about, what they enjoyed, who they were, but I didn’t know how to go right out and ask them about themselves without sounding invasive. More often than none, that question of “what do you do?” is how we’re used to getting to know people we’ve just met, and further, identifying them as that. Once presented with a better option I changed my tune, “Yeah… what do you like to go do?”
We then proceeded to have an awesome conversation about the things they truly care about, enjoy filling their time with, the activities they do that actually speak to who they are inside. And guess what, we had a lot in common. Our jobs however, not so much.
Over the past year as I have struggled with “what do I want to be when I grow up” as if once I choose it will be my new and next identity until I change my mind again. Within that time, within that search for myself, I’ve realized a lot about myself-
I have a deep connection with nature I’ve been ignoring.
I enjoy witchy things like tarot, crystals, herbs, and working with mother Earth.
I’ve missed having the house in order, cooking good meals, and being more present and available.
I love working hard in my yard and garden.
I secretly want to climb a mountain, jump a big dirt hill on my dirt bike, learn how to back up a trailer and drive a stick, and embrace this side of me that society has told me is guy stuff.
I like days spent at a museum, at coffee shops, strolls in the city, shopping, fashion... sometimes
But I feel most at home in the woods, roughing it, no makeup, hair pulled back.
But most of all I’ve learned:
At my core I feel like I am a dreamer and an artist, influenced by my emotions, in constant desire to create and express.
When I started to realize some of these things I quickly tried to turn them into a “job.” There’s been a huge shift in the mentality of my generation and now it’s all about Live Your Best Life, Do What You Love, Passion Over Paychecks.
But here’s the problem.
Trying to figure out what I love and how to incorporate that into making money and doing the best job on the plant has me stressing the fuck out.
Ironic. I know.
Just because you love something does not mean you have to turn it into your life’s work or purpose. Loving something purely just because it brings you joy can be enough.
That’s been the hardest thing for me to separate in my brain. You don’t have to love every aspect of your job. You don’t have to make it your job if you love every aspect of it.
I feel like I am currently at a stage in my life where I can DO whatever I want. I can BE whatever I want. The possibilities are in front of me, taunting me, questioning me, and they are endless.
I longed for freedom. This freedom has now paralyzed me.
And I’ve officially realized something: I hate everything about trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
It’s too big. It’s too concrete. It’s too limiting. It’s something I ask you to look at differently.
I’m also a big believer in never growing up. Call me a female Peter Pan, but I hate that we put age restrictions on goals, reality checks on dreams, practicality on ideas, expectations on lifestyles, and judgement on freedom.
I DO NOT want to grow up and fit into that mold that society has built and labeled as an adult.
I see too many adults unhappy, held back, feeling stuck, or simply just going through the motions of what they think they are supposed to do. I want to keep that mindset of a child who’s excited to invent and believe in fairy tales, who’s not afraid to say what’s on their mind and do only what makes them happy, not held back by fear, judgement, or social norms.
But what if we started asking ourselves WHO we wanted to be?
Me? I want to be kind. I want to be in love. I want be a dreamer. I want to be that person who you can count on to believe in you. I want to be that person to show you an experience that you can not only see but feel in your bones. I want to live as me- not who the world thinks I should be, or even who I think I should be, WHO I AM.
Lately I’ve noticed I’ve spent the majority of this last year running away from what I’m really good at in search of something different. At this point I’m not sure if that’s the right move or not. Am I resisting who I am meant to be, or am I fighting who I could be? There’s so much living in the past, living in the future, that I’ve spent VERY little time over this past year LIVING NOW. If I were being honest a lot of time has been spent in my head, in my dreams, on paper between lists and ideas.
Instead of worrying about who we want to be when we grow up, what if we just focus on who we are right now?
Do I like who I am right now? Am I happy? Am I surviving? Am I thriving?
Listen. I’m not saying to not have goals. I’m not saying to avoid titles or jobs. I’m not saying it’s not ok to know what you want to do with your life, and possibly do that for the rest of your life.
What I am saying is you don’t have to know what you want to be when you grow up, or ever. What you need to know is how to be happy. It’s ok to love your job, it’s ok to be indifferent about your job.
But loving your life and loving who you are- that’s nonnegotiable.
So here’s to never growing up and being happy about it.
…and because music influences me so heavily, and after I wrote this entry and referred to myself as Peter Pan I heard 2 more Pan references through out the day. Looks like I’m meant to be a Lost Boy after all. Enjoy