Wednesday, October 26, 2005

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

*sigh* I've never known the answer to that question. I've always just said, "I dunno." Even as a child, when the imagination tends to be more alive and active, I struggled with that question. The only thing I knew was expected of me as a woman was to become a wife and mother. So when high school ended and there were no proposals beating down my door I went to college and majored in the only area I knew to major in: Family Studies. Afterall, if I was going to be a wife and mother I might as well be an educated, degreed one. A decade and a divorce later, here I am. And I still don't know the answer to that oh so popular question. Although I do know that the doing isn't as important as the being, I still long for a doing that comes from and is inspired by the being. (Does that make sense?)
I've often thought, and maybe naively, that people who know what they want to do, who have definite careers they want to enter (i.e. teacher, doctor, nurse, astronaut, chef, lawyer, etc.) were lucky. It's layed out and defined. There are definite steps to follow to help them arrive at their dream-job destination. For me, and for those of you like me, it's been more difficult. All I have to go by is a feeling in my heart, a longing in my soul. I know there's something within that's eager to "become," but I don't have a face or name for it. I know I have something to offer the world. I don't doubt that. I just don't know what it is or how to get there...and get paid for it of course. I don't know where "there" is. I just know there is something inside that wants to unfold, to bloom, a fragrance that wants to unfurl from the petals and infuse the world around me with a delicious scent. I know it's a combination of sharing/discovering my journey and assisting others in connecting to/expressing their journey. I just don't know exactly what that is called. Maybe it would be easier if it were more clearly defined (like police woman, fire person, writer, actress, mechanic, dancer, construction worker, stripper). But it's not. And so I feel I spend most of my time in the dark, just staying put because I don't know where to go next, waiting for something to open up for me, like the parting of the Red Sea or a pillar of smoke to follow through the dark wilderness.
So what do I want to do when I grow up? I don't know. I'm open to suggestions. In the meantime, I'll just keep doing what I've been doing: being the truest Michelle I know how to be.


Blogger kiki said...

i agree that it's difficult not being able to define what you want to be when you grow up. sometimes i feel as if i am in a dark room. i can see the light coming in under the door but i can't figure out how to turn the knob. other times not knowing is like being on a treasure hunt. a grand adventure full of chills and thrills with a big prize at the end. i try to spend most of my time looking for treasure.

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Marilyn said...

I just had this conversation at work today...only we were talking about the other woman and third party...both much younger than me...both in careers they thought were IT, but now feel it's NOT. :) I stood in the shower before work this morning and thought for the thousandth time that I'd love to NOT have to go to an office...I'd love to just stay home all day and WRITE...

9:14 PM  
Anonymous LB said...

If it makes you feel any better, almost everyone I know isn't sure of what they want to be or do with their lives. Even people who seem settled in their careers usually are dissatisfied with their work and dream of change and increased fulfillment.

I've had one major career change so far. Now I'm a teacher, which is what I always thought I wanted to be. But, I really don't like it at times. Slowly, but surely I'm morphing my life and my work into something I can live with.

Life is such a process. The quest is never over... Hang in there and good luck!

9:32 PM  
Blogger Kitty Kitty Peacock said...

You are not alone. I am with you 100% on this.

9:37 PM  
Blogger liz elayne said...

I wish we could have tea together and talk about this. Do we ever get "there" - I don't know. At least the journey keeps us on our toes.

11:57 PM  
Blogger dani said...

i could have written this post word for word. this has been me for such a long time, it's so frustrating. but i always have the hope that one day things become crystal clear. i hope this for you too.

4:23 AM  
Blogger gkgirl said...

i do not know one person
regardless of age
or career
in my life
that is happy doing what they are doing...

me included

5:44 AM  
Blogger acumamakiki said...

I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I thought I knew (interior designer) and I was passionate about art and my design work until my early 30's. I never knew that I would reach my goals and then be dissatisfied once I arrived. It was really disappointing to reach that point so even though it was all 'planned' out right after high school, it petered out faster than I'd have thought.

It took me about 2 years of thinking every day, ruminating, worrying and chewing over what I'd do with my life until I stumbled upon acupuncture. It was an arduous path and I hated the process because I was so confused. At the time, mother wasn't in my repetoire so I had no way to know who I was going to be.

Perhaps that's why being a mama has always been part of who I am and that I most identify myself by what I do.

Just trust Michelle that you will find your answer, your calling and KNOW that what you are doing each day by writing and sharing is part of your calling and how you help at least, this world.

5:46 AM  
Blogger sheela said...

sending you a hug, michelle. hoping you find little stars to guide you thru the dark wilderness.

p.s. love the photo of your little boy's hand. so cute...

6:02 AM  
Blogger Frankie said...

This sounds just like me! Although, I'm still only 20, I struggle with this all the time. I watch my friends follow their life plans from point A to point B and can't help but think that life would be so much easier if I had a Point B, if I had points at all. Instead, I'm just sort of floating....But there is some beauty and wonder in that. You're not confined to any one "identity." You are free to be whatever it is you want to be, and you're already inspiring my journey just by writing, so THANKS!

6:41 AM  
Blogger kelly said...

i hate the notion that we have to
fit into one narrow mold. i think that people who know early, have mostly been told what they are going to be and the fill there life with that mission. they fail to live out loud. they have so many missed opportunities. that is why we need art classes, journals, hobbies. we need to focus on the broad picture of life.
stay out of the tunnel.

i say try many things during your search. they may not be what you
want to focus on, but you will learn and grow more, than if you
are focusing on only one thing

by the first major freshout of high school was child and family studies....i knew nothing else. gosh, i hated things then! but it is always a process.

good luck!

7:27 AM  
Anonymous XT said...

I had always felt the same way until recently. At 30 I finally figured out that it was never going to come to me, I had to go out and find it. And although I'd read "What Color is Your Parachute" and many of those books, they had never worked for me. Then I wound up reading a book called The Pathfinder by Nicholas Lore. (No I am no way connected to him.) It's a lot of work, but it really worked for me. You asked for suggestions, so here's my suggestion. Buy the book and work through it. Even if you don't find IT, you will be a lot closer than you are now. That's my suggestion. (And I am enjoying reading your words.)

9:17 AM  
Blogger laurenbove said...

I know there's something within that's eager to "become," but I don't have a face or name for it.

Dude! I have the same problem. In fact I struggled with it all through college and could not decide on a major. parents weren't amused and offered four years ONLY. So I just closed my eyes and picked something.

I have too many ideas to narrow it down and soon it will be all too late anyway. I wish I had a single burning desire. I just never did. I liked too many avenues all at once to cut off all but one.

and thus I am the quintisential SAHM. And you know what that stands for..just ask dooce.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous yolie said...

Wow! That comment about not knowing anyone who is happy about what they are doing is really sad.
I only know one person who has known what she wanted to be her whole life since she could talk and is exactly that, a songwriter/musician and she is one of the unhappiest people I have ever known. I guess knowing doesn't guarantee happiness.
I feel fortunate to have dreamed of many things I wanted to be in my life and done many of them. The night, as they say, is still young!
As for suggestions. I think your openess to the world and others is pretty wonderful, I for one appreciate it. Maybe defining one thing isn't really the answer. Maybe too limiting for someone with so much to offer?

9:37 AM  
Blogger Server Girl said...

Once again, as u can see by all your comments u have spoken for "us" as a group. I vote for u for prez! You can REPRESENT all the women. ha ha. I love the pic that went along with this post.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous ivy said...

I have all kinds of friends from high school who seemed to have it all together, they've all graduated college and are starting their careers. I've spent a lot of time feeling inadequete next to them, always thought well, why wasn't it me? Why didn't I make it through college, I'm just as smart as they are.
I've come to find out recently that a lot of them are at least a little envious of my life. I'm an 'adult' with a 'real life' and a lot of them can't say that.

Now all I know about what I want to be when I grow up is happy. I want to create and I want to spread my creations to anyone who will pay attention. I want to inspire people and I want to be inspired. I want to be an artist. I'm finding that these goals are easier when you know you have them.
Once upon a time I wanted to be a lawyer.

12:21 PM  
Blogger ESB said...

No need to label or pin down what you do, or want to do...but what about being a therapist? What you describe yourself as already doing sounds an awful lot like therapy.....:)

12:30 PM  
Blogger Glamorous Jo said...

I always wanted to be a teacher growing up, or a concert pianist. Now I'm a marketing exec for an indie rock record company. I wonder if my original idea was wrong, or if my current job is wrong. Or, maybe none of it is wrong and I'll teach my children to play the piano! Love this post...

11:32 AM  

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