When we are young, we are asked what we want to be when we grow up. All throughout our childhood, we are asked this question. We are pushed to strive for this particular goal. But what happens when we do not know? What happens when all of the hard work we have put in to become a doctor was for nothing because six years into a medical degree we decide we actually want to study astronomy?
When I was a child, I wanted to be like my mother. Hard working, a career woman with a family. It was admirable, and amongst the dreams of my peers, it was the most realistic goal the teachers had heard. It was seen as attainable for whatever reasons. In junior high school, I strived to be an artist. I wanted to paint and draw for a living, knowing full well that it was unlikely that I would ever make enough to pay for basic amenities. Along those same lines, in high school, I wanted to write stories for a living. As an adult, struggling with homelessness and strained relationships in a new place where I knew next to no one, I wanted to be a photographer, a healer, a small business owner, and a historian.
I have learned that being something is not the way to live your life – striving to be a teacher or a historian or a writer is asking for years of debt piled up and hours upon hours of anxiety. Instead of being, do – instead of being a teacher, teach; instead of being a writer, write; instead of being a historian, make history.
When I grow up, I do not want to be something, I want to do something. I want to create and live a full life. I want to learn, I want to explore, I want to do things – something, anything.