From the time we were just little kids, the question we heard time and again from the grown-ups was: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Back then it was a lot easier to answer that question. When you’re a kid, your mind goes in one of two directions: either you want to be something exciting, or you want to grow up to be just like your mom or dad. I can remember when I was in school and someone asked us that question, my classmates came up with what was popular at the time: firemen, astronauts, doctors, nurses, and, of course, the ageless standby … a movie star! Most of the girls, however, replied that they just wanted to get married and have a nice house with x number of kids, just like mom. You have to remember that this was back in the early 1960’s so the answers were a sign of the times.
Two things happened during my lifetime that took that question and gave it a whole new meaning. First, The Women’s Movement came on the scene and suddenly answers like doctor, lawyer and even fireman were not the exclusive property of the boys. Second, we grew up. We went out into the real world, had a look around, and came to the conclusion that what we had been taught did not match up with what we were experiencing. It wasn’t just about knowing “what” you wanted to be when you grew up, but also “who” you wanted to be. What kind of a person did we want to be, and how did that tie in with what we wanted to do as a career or profession?
I was lucky in that I knew what and who I wanted to be from the time I was five – a writer! Of course over the following 50 plus years the kind of writer I wanted to be changed from decade to decade as I became involved in different causes, experienced marriage, motherhood, divorce and, now, tackling the cultural beliefs about aging and writing a whole new chapter. Not all of my friends, however, shared the same confidence in their life choices. Many of them followed the accepted norms of the times only to find out later on that their lives were without passion and purpose, or that they regretted not getting that degree and seeing the world. Now many members of my generation are out there taking classes, trying new careers, starting their own businesses, or using their experience and talents to mentor the next generation. No matter what you thought you wanted to be when you were 6 years old, what and who you want to be today is entirely up to you. There are no norms, parents, teachers or peers telling you otherwise … they’re all out there themselves.
As you can guess, this week’s assignment, located on the home page, is all about what you wanted to be when you were little, and who you want to be now. Let writing be your vehicle to new insights and new goals.
Blessings and peace!