As soon as we are able to talk in full sentences, one of the first questions we hear is “what do you want to be when you grow up?” When we’re 4 or 5, our answers normally range from princesses and fairies to dinosaurs and ninjas. As we grow a little bit older, our answers change about every other week. I remember I used to want to be a doctor, a teacher, a police officer, a singer, and who knows what else. Though this may seem like a simple enough question to a child, it becomes much more important as we grow older. For me, it became an ongoing search for an answer I thought was supposed to define me. In middle school I told everyone I was going to be a musician. Well, that’s what I said until I was told that my chances of making it was next to none. So I moved on. I wanted to find something that I could fall in love with, make some kind of a difference, and be able to make a living on. That shouldn’t be so complicated, right?
I spent a lot of time searching for the perfect career path. Writing has always been my passion, so I thought I could be a writer. But what if no one liked what I wrote? In an attempt to find a “practical” career in writing, I chose to major in journalism my first semester of college. Though I have a newfound respect for media and reporting, I can’t see myself writing for a newspaper for the rest of my life. After transferring to a new school, I was able to discuss my frustration in finding a career path with a couple of my professors. They helped me realize that it’s okay if I don’t have a clear-cut image of what my life is going to be. We can’t know our future, we can only try to plan for it.
I’m obviously not going to go into the work force blind, spinning in circles while covering my eyes and waiting to see where my pointing finger lands on. I ended up switching my major to English Professional Studies with a minor in Communication. What do I plan to do with it? I’m not sure yet. Not knowing used to scare me to death, but I’m starting to realize that it’s okay not knowing for the moment. I know I want to write, and that can lead to a multitude of career paths. Instead of looking at my future as dark and unsure, I can now look to into it with a sense of mystery and excitement.
What about you? Have you always known what you want to do with your life? Or are you like me, someone who kind of has an idea but can’t find a definite path quite yet? Or do you have no idea and are feeling pressured by time to make a choice? This is a question that we are called to wrestle with as individuals, so how can we handle it appropriately and in a way that allows us to do what we are passionate about while being able to live off of what we love?