I read an article in The New York Times that one of the worst questions to ask a child is “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Asking them this question and putting them in the position to consider their answer at such a young age, can pigeon hole the child into doing something they don’t even like.
When we are asked those kinds of questions when we are children, we grow into adults that expect certainty and there is a lot of uncertainty that comes with adulthood. This creates conflict and brings up questions like, “What’s wrong with me?” and “Why don’t I know this?”
Once we get to a certain age, an age where we feel solidly “adult,” we begin to feel like we should know exactly what our passions are, what jobs we want, where we want to live, and so many other major life decisions. The adult experience is this pressurized system of “Why don’t you know?” and so many of us do not know, or are in the process of figuring it out.
Having questions, doubts, or mixed feelings can be unsettling when we feel like we’re supposed to know, but questioning can be healthy. Questioning aspects of our lives is a sign that we aren’t complacent, and it shows that we are introspective. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to wonder where different choices might lead you. We don’t have to be clear and sure about every single thing.
There are some people that are super clear on aspects of their lives. When I became a therapist I knew that was it for me. I have had many different jobs as a social worker. I was a juvenile probation officer and a foster care therapist. Even inside of my chosen career path, I have had to figure out what my “thing” is.
I think internships are a beautiful thing. If you think you want to be a veterinarian, go intern with a vet. See what it feels like to get peed on, and if you don’t mind it, great. But, if you realize you can’t deal with dog’s breath, you’ve saved yourself six years of college. I worked at the YMCA summer camp for one day. I didn’t have any kids at the time and my patience was thin. Kids were running around all over the place and not listening, and I just knew it wasn’t for me.
Sometimes you’re sure of what you don’t want to do. Sometimes you will really want to do something for a period of time and then you won’t want to do it anymore. Sometimes you figure things out later in life.
When I was in grad school, there was this guy who was in his 60s. He retired as an engineer for GM and he was in graduate school for social work. He said it was something he had always wanted to do. His kids were grown, he was done paying for their college, and he decided he wanted to do something for himself.
During the course of your life you will have so many passions for so many different things and it’s really important to understand that the way you discover your passion is just by living. Your passion really discovers you. It just happens.
It’s ok if you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, because you’re still growing up. We are always growing up.
How has what you want changed as you’ve gotten older?
What is a new dream you have now that you didn’t have when you were younger?
What decisions have you felt forced to make because you are an adult?
Super Pumped. This is a new show about the rise of Uber. I am very interested in shows about corporations, because it feels like a family drama. You can watch it on Showtime.
Finding Tamika on Audible. This podcast is about a Black girl that has gone missing. If you like crime and mystery podcasts, this is a very good one.
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