Monday, July 15, 2013

"What do you want to be...?"

When I was a kid people would always ask me "What do you want to be when you grow up?"  I never had an answer to that question.  I don't even remember secretly having an answer I was embarrassed to tell others.  The answer just wasn't there.  I'm not sure I could relate to the question at all.

I also remember in elementary school hearing other kids saying which college they were going to attend, and asking me where I was going to go.  I had no answer to that, either.  I never understood why they were even thinking about it, and wondered why it mattered to them.  I remember thinking that they would probably change their minds several times before the day came.

There were a lot of things I wanted to experience, but nothing I wanted to do to the exclusion of everything else.  And, I suppose, without a clear picture of what I wanted to "become" I couldn't get interested in going to college to become something.  Even when I did go to college, I never "declared a major".

But it all came back to not having any answer to "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

Now I regret that to a certain degree, but I'm not sure what I could have changed.  Because I still "suffer from" the same ... lack, or absence.  It's probably a personal failure on my part, but I swear it feels like a genetic glitch- like I'm missing an organ from birth and no amount of wishing or pretending will make it spontaneously grow.  Perhaps if I had been a more motivated person, I could have forged on ahead as if I had an answer.  And sometimes I wish I had.

I will say that there were some things I wanted to do.  And each and every one of those things I was told was not possible because it was "illegal".  Of course, now I realize that "illegal" doesn't mean "impossible", or even "wrong", but at that young age all I thought was that I didn't want to be the bad guy breaking "laws" and going to jail just for doing what I selfishly wanted to do.  It's a difficult delusion to kick.

And please don't forget.



  1. Take it from an old, old timer, Hawk: it's never too late to start.

    Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

    I've bounced and slid and attempted hosts of things (drunks tend to move around a lot). Today I can say I'm satisfied.


  2. I've found that most people that "have a plan" are just pretending and using logical fallacies to create a narrative.

    For example: One woman I know started out in child care but INSISTS that it was INEVITABLE that she would become a high paid manager at a medical corporation. (This change happened at a rather late age too.) I watched the transition. It wasn't planned ahead 10 steps. It was steps in random directions that turned out well.

    I think life is usually a whole lot of random steps that people explain as a narrative no matter what.

    Also, I always prefer less broad questions to feel better:
    What do I want to do for a living tomorrow? How can I make that happen? I can change my mind tomorrow if I like.

    For the record, I've been going through posts and you're a fine writer. Don't feed yourself too much bull on not being specialized at anything.

  3. I too never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. So I did what was interesting. Now at 67 I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. All I sure of is that it will be interesting.