What do you want to BE?

41 thoughts on “What do you want to BE?”

  1. In my childhood it was somewhat the opposite of yours! I dream myself in so many professions. Like, fireman, marine biologist, forensic scientist, archaeologist and now when the time actually for me to make a decision is here, i run out of options!

  2. I love this! Taking the “safe” route is never as satisfying (for me it was music). I am finally in a place in my life that I can say, “I am a writer who happens to play the oboe well.” Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. I look forward to reading more.

    – Emily

  3. this is so encouraging. great post! whenever anyone is faced with that decision of ‘what they want to do with their life,’ they have to find what they are truely passionate about and go with it. might as well be spending the rest of your life doing something you love!


  4. I like this. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, or more accurately, I think I’d like to be miscellaneous: part writer, part teacher, part artist, maybe some programming thrown in? It’s nice to realize we don’t have to figure it all out right now.

  5. In my experiences, the most interesting people are the ones who didn’t have it all figured out at 18 or 22 or even 42, for that matter. I think those that take winding paths through life, dabbling along the way, have much more awe-inspiring stories to tell! Good luck! And congrats on being freshly pressed!

  6. My sister is always telling me I need to live before I can write a book. I personally don’t believe that. I just think you need to be imaginative, empathetic and willing to research.

  7. i’m still in the process of figuring out what i want to “be”………i do feel pressured that i’m running out of time to figure it out. but then again i’m only 22 and you’re right, things will come in time. thanks :).

  8. I often feel exactly the same about writing. I’d sit down and pen little snippets of various things, but I could never make a coherent thought last longer than a page, let alone draft out an entire plot. I guess this is what I’m trying to do now and it’s exactly like you said – I need to live before I can write. Thanks for reminding me. 🙂

  9. “When the timing is right to write a book, God will push me, and I will go.”

    Thank you so much for this post, and for this line in particular. I needed to hear that today, the same way I need to hear it every day.

    You’re a fine writer, and a natural one. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  10. “There’s no pressure to have the life map written out in ink by the high school graduation event.” Eighth grade. That’s when I was given the actual assignment to draw a map of my life. I’d “known” what I wanted to be since I was about 4. I was going to be a musician. I was good at it. It was safe, as you said. I wish I had had a Penny Owens who would have told me to consider an alternative just so I would have given it some thought. When my music career ended in college, it felt like my life ended. And then I found a completely unexpected use of my music — singing campers to sleep at the camp I ran for years. I love how life follows its own path, despite our drive to have it all figured out first.

  11. This reminds me of a wonderful thing I read in a book recently. I’m paraphrasing here, but the gist of it is: You don’t always have to know the big picture and have everything mapped out, and you don’t always have to know exactly where you want to end up. Sometimes, you just have to know what you’re going to do next.

  12. I didn’t think deeply enough as a teen trying to figure out what I wanted to do or “be”. I fell back on my procrastination and laziness, what the easiest routes would be. That said, I didn’t grumble about my life not going “well”. Life was what it was and is.

    I too often thought about writing, and still think about writing a book… but I hate writing – real writing. I hate deadlines and being under the gun.

    Parenting is difficult, no doubt about it. It’s hard too on the opposite side as the child. It’s a balancing act between being firm and being loving.

    I have some mediocre artistic talent which I quashed because my father made too much of a deal about it. Now, I pretty much hate drawing, partly out of a lack of patience and partly due to ocd/perfectionism. My elder son, at 4, is showing greater artistic ability and promise than I did at his age. I encourage him, but I feel like I have to restrain myself so that I do not become like my father, smothering with expectations and vicarious hopes and beliefs.

    I wanted to be a cartographer – map maker – as a young teen, until I discovered I lacked the mathmatic ability. I wanted to be an art teacher until I realized I hated the rank liberalism I witnessed in the art department at college (not to mention realizing that art teachers are on the bottom of the totem pole in the education world). I wanted to be a historian until I realized the amount of detailed writing required. I settled on social studies education, and never used my degree.

    Instead I am a stay-at-home dad. I worked a variety of jobs over the years, most manual and drudgery, yet they were all learning experiences. I’m by no means skillfully handy, but I’ve saved myself and our family plenty of money over the years.

    And my mother, who told me when I was young that I’d make a good preacher or a politician? I find myself as I get older, getting deeper into the Word and almost feel pulled toward preaching… and I’ve felt interested in politics and pontificate on it for years. Who knows. Maybe in another decade or two I’ll be another Pres. Garfield – hopefully without being assasinated!

  13. The pressure to know what one wants to BE (in your terms) at such a young age is nearly insurmountable. As young as 16, kids are asked to answer that question.

    Meanwhile, we tell them how much the schooling will cost, how many years it will take, what the pay will be, how the job market is, and overall just grind into their heads that there is only one “right” choice. A wrong choice will result in a lifetime of pain and misery because you didn’t pick the right school or earn the right degree.

    That’s not true. We have our lives to figure out what we want to BE. There is no hurry.

    Fantastic post. If you ever do write a book, I would be interested in reading it.

  14. So… what did you end up “being” after high school, in the meantime? I feel that exact same way right now in my third year of college.

    1. Hi Jasmine, I’m a full time mom and wife with no regrets. I studied dance at UofM for one year then I got my degree in psychology. I applied myself to my family and it was the best choice I could have ever made. Blessings to you as you discover your “clues” Tonya LaTorre

  15. Nice post! I believe we should be always in the lookout for clues on how to be happy. And if being happy means a big carreer, yes, go for it, but if it means only living and loving life, this should be highly appreciated. And only experiencing life we can became who we are meant to be.


  16. I agree, it’s not fair that they ask high school seniors what they want to be. I didn’t know what I wanted to be in ’79, and I still don’t know. 17 is too young. They’re still not mature enough. Kudos to the ones that know and are persuing it, they’ve got a head start. As for the others, like my kids, they’re still decidiing.

    I’d like to be rich, but that’s another story.

  17. I love this. Im 24 & am still trying to figure it out. My most exciting dream for myself was to become a magazine editor. It’s still in the depths of my heart but needs molding. I am a senior in college with many “plans” but none that capture my attention enough to make me feel passionate yet. So what did you end up doing after high shcool?

  18. This is all so true. I can definitely associate with that deliberate and stately, but juvenile decision of, “I will be a writer,” and then desperately adhering to that claim, because that has been me since I was very young, up until a few years ago. I completely agree with what you’re saying about how our paths change along the way, and I firmly believe that this isn’t a bad thing at all, but that it’s absolutely necessary. I’m still only in high school, but even now I’m realizing that a “writer” isn’t what I want to “be” anymore, and other art forms and areas of writing that I had discounted earlier, are now making appearances their way into my future goals.
    Thanks for sharing and congrats on being pressed!

  19. God, I love your post. It’s terribly brave, balls-out, and honest. I feel the same way about that terrible question – ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ I feel myself coming up against the projected insecurities of people around me (family mostly, and then people I conjure in my brain). I’m 25, and I feel that question escaping me with every passing day. It’s like something I have to survive, or ‘get better’ from. hahha it’s terribly silly, and completely limiting. Defining who we are, or what we do, is silly; and it’s only done in the act of making other people understand you. Sometimes, when I sit with myself and do a Chakras meditation, I realize my true nature and what I should be doing with my life. And it’s in that compassionate moment when everything makes so much sense. It’s simple. The fear comes in outside of that meditation. And it’s that fear that sometimes keeps people from holding onto the simplicity of their true nature.

    Thought you might want to check out my collaborative blog – Dysfunctional Beginnings – about growing up and beginnings of all kinds. Material includes literary writing, nonfiction, fiction, poetry, photography, video, etc. We’ve survived it. Now let’s attest to it.
    Submissions go to: dysfunctionalbeginnings@gmail.com

  20. Loved reading this! As a soon to be college graduate in May I feel like I have to have this elaborate map of the next 50 years! Great message to stay positive 🙂

  21. Wow what an inspiring story. Its true I have has the wind knocked out of my sails more than once by people. You need to grasp on to your dreams and let no one take them away from you. When your ready I hope you will write your book and wish you all the success when it is published.

    All the best and wishes for great days.

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