Monday, June 20, 2016

When I Grow Up

I'm still trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I know precisely who and what I don't want to be -- that's become very clear to me in the last few years -- but I'm still sort of blundering about, trying to determine who and what I will be.

I know, I know, I'm sort of already a grown up.

It has occurred to me of late, however, that being an adult doesn't mean you're grown up. I don't think you finish growing up; I firmly believe that growing, transforming and changing, and becoming who you are meant to be is a lifelong process.

Which leads me to the question of what I want to do and be when I grow up. Again. Always.

The difference between me now and me five years ago is that this question no longer stresses me out. I once defined myself through my career and how well that was going. I've stopped doing that, because as it turns out, there's a whole lot of life that happens outside of the office. I want to define myself by how I live, and work is not where I live. Work is where I go to see my supercool coworkers, do some tasks that I love and some that I don't, and make the money I need to do the living part of my life.

Am I super passionate about my work? Parts of it. I feel like that's true of every job out there, though. To be honest, I sort of feel like the notion of being massively in love with all aspects of any job is kind of like the Disney myth of romance, where you love every single aspect of your partner all of the time and never find anything about them irritating and no one ever fights over who's turn it is to take the garbage out. It's a nice thought, but it's not REAL. It doesn't exist. There's always going to be the garbage-y tasks. There will always be things that annoy you.

I think that's how it works, kinda.

Given that, why ask myself what I want to be when I grow up? Honestly, that's so I can figure out what aspects of myself I want to work on, work out, and work towards. If I decide that I want to act? I don't think it means dropping everything and running off to Hollywood. Maybe I can spend some time in community theatre. Take lessons. Get myself out there. If I want to be a better writer? I should spend more time writing. If I want to be a chef, I could take cooking lessons. I could be more daring in the kitchen, try new stuff.

I can move towards the things that I think are interesting and that I really love and see -- how does this work? How do I work within it? What can I learn from this?

I ask myself what I want to be when I grow up, but I think that the truth is that what I most want to be is fully realized as a person who explores her interests and isn't afraid to try stuff. I don't want to go back to the person who defines herself by her job. I want to be a person who defines herself through all of the other things in life that she has -- and those are all good, amazing things.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

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