“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Man, that question invokes a lot of responses throughout our lives, doesn’t it?
As children, we can’t wait to grow up. When adults ask us what we want to be, we eagerly shout out, “police officer, fire fighter, dolphin trainer, superstar, ballerina, race car driver, fashionista…” the list goes on.
And when they ask us the following year, we reply with equal certainty, “teacher, doctor, superhero, evil mastermind (for all you Slytherin’s out there), scientist, NFL player!”
We answer with excitement, hope, and assuredness that comes from a sweet lack of life experience. At this point in our lives, anything is achievable.
As we grow up, that question starts to elicit a less certain response. When it comes time to pick a college major and the advisor asks you, “what do you want to do?” you may freeze thinking, “I don’t know what I want to do for the next forty years! I’m just trying to pass Econ!”
Or maybe you answer without thinking at all, “Well, my grandpa was a doctor and my mom is a doctor, and my brother is a doctor, so I’m going to be a doctor.” Secretly, you hate science and would rather be an Art History major and work in a gallery, but it’s not really up to you.
The question becomes tougher and tougher to answer the older we get. Family, money, time, and status (just to name a few!) heavily influence what we decide to do.
Listen, y’all. I get it.
I had a great job. It came with the paycheck, 401K, benefits, prestige, status, and more…BUT. I. WASN’T. HAPPY. I knew what I loved to do. I loved to write fitness and nutrition plans for myself and my friends. I loved to talk about health and what it meant to me. My favorite time of the day and week was the time I spent in the gym. Fitness and nutrition were my passion. But personal training doesn’t offer a lot of stability or status. And I was too scared to walk away from my job and pursue it.
That changed. And thank God it did.
I was still scared to pursue personal training, but what scared me even more was the idea of staying in a job that I hated for the rest of my life. It was getting harder each day to walk away from the path I was on and ultimately there came a point when I simply had to decide: do you want to be happy?
I decided I did. So I left the big job with no meaning for a “smaller” job that has turned out to be so much “bigger” than I ever could have dreamed.
It was scary to pursue my dream, but I am thankful every single day that I did. I may not know what the future holds for me on this path, but I know it is far greater than anything I would have achieved before.
The next time someone asks you what you want to be when you grow up, tell the truth!
Then figure out a way to do it.