What will you do when you grow up? Our whole lives we’ve been asked this one question. How do we find the answer?
As kids, the answer was easy. A football player. A fire fighter. A ballerina, doctor, politician, lawyer, or President of the USA.
We all had our answer concerning some far off world — where all our dreams and talents converged into the rest of our amazing adult lives.
When I was a kid and my Aunt asked me about Future Adult Paul, I confidently told her I was going to play professional baseball for the Colorado Rockies. But I was a bit of a realist even then, so I had a Plan B. If baseball didn’t work out, I told her I planned on winning the lottery. She laughed, and laughed, and laughed.
What was so funny?
College comes and goes and we begin to realize. We start figuring the odds. We see how many people want the same dream. How many people can dance more gracefully, swing the bat better, solve the problem quicker. Our childhood dreams become just that — dreams, no longer able to breathe in this stuffy adult world. To settle or not to settle becoming the crux question of our twenties.
Your Aunt asks what you’re going to do, this time at your college graduation party.
This time, you don’t know what to tell her.
“So what do you do?” It’s our conversation starter. Our flint. We hope it sparks a picture of this person. What job is you? A tough answer when your job, or lack of job, is anything but.
We are a culture of doers. Of accomplishers — of titles — of my car is faster than yours. My Facebook profile shines and sparkles with more gold medals and blue ribbons — and you should go ahead and commence feeling jealous.
However is what do you do even the right question? Is our calling on this earth just about what we do? Or is it more?
“Maybe instead of asking what will you do, we should be asking what are we going to be when we grow up? Not what are we going to do, what profession are we going to follow or keep on following, what niche are we going to occupy in the order of things. But are we going to be – inside ourselves and among ourselves?” Fredrick Buechner
We are obsessed with doing. What about our being? Apart from any label, any name tag you might slap across your chest. As we grow up we will wear many suits, some will fit better than others. But when we’re doing nothing worth bragging about, who will we be? Maybe that should be the question.
Anyone else have a disparity between what you thought you’d be doing and what you are? Thoughts?