My answer to the question “What do you want to do when you grow up?”

So, the question is still being asked disguised as “What do you want to do with your degree? What do you “do”? What’s your plan?”

Let’s face it. When people ask this question, they are looking for a solid answer say – I want to be a pediatrician, lawyer, teacher, zoologist, etc. What they aren’t expecting is an answer that sounds more like – “I want to be happy and have a flexible career and do something that involves advocacy and community building.” It sounds good, but it’s not quite specific enough. Honestly, it’s a bit ambiguous for me too but I am learning how to enjoy where I am and the process.

Society places too much pressure on job titles and not enough on lifestyle and values.

I won’t say I have no idea what I want to do. I know some pretty specific job titles that I could pursue but I’m open to learning. I am not sure if I have found out exactly what I want to “do” and what other way is there to find out but to be doing a bunch of “somethings”? Taking on different internships, talking to people, writing down new ideas, and researching through reading blogs and listening to podcasts helps. I do think I am on track to finding my space. There are times when I feel that I have found something and realize, well, not quite. But it helps me shape the next discovery I make.

This fall, I will be going to graduate school and I have to admit, it’s quite stressful. Not knowing what I want to do as in a career is scary when you see the price sticker of how much this journey is going to cost me. I have considered many times whether going to graduate school is the right way for me. I am always reminded that it’s not about just going to grad school, but that I truly believe that this unique program is a stepping stone for me. If we are lucky, we will live a very long life which will likely consist of a bunch of different jobs and experiences. It’s scary taking on new experiences and I am definitely feeling that energy having just graduated and planning to move to a new city 14 hours away from home. It’s a bit overwhelming to say the least, but it’s a large part of how I dream and how I move. I do the things that scare me the most because these things push me to grow into the person I’ve always wanted to be.

Life is a series of experiences and new job roles are a part of that series.

Let’s face it. Millineals are not the type to stick with one company for 50 years and retire. We love to travel and to be free and innovative. We are creatives which means we change our minds a lot. I’m learning to be okay with the fact that I am not boxed into any one thing. I have a lot of interests. I am working to figure out how in the heck to combine them all and make money to live the sort of lifestyle I want to live. It’s a bit of a mess right now. Sort of like cleaning up your room. I’m one of those throw everything on the floor and then put things back into place kind of cleaners. It’s a giant mess before it gets better. But it does get better. I deal with a lot of anxiety too. Maybe that’s a good thing in some aspects. It pushes me to go deeper and to reacher further. It hurts sometimes too though. Feeling like I am not doing enough. Feeling like I’m just completely all over the place and that I just need to get my stuff together. Forgetting what it feels like to be “normal.” I mean, what the heck is normal anyway? I have to remind myself that I can have a voice because it’s not crazy or maybe it is but, hey, there are a lot of other crazy talkers out here. I might as well be one of them.

Be calm. Kick ass. You are okay.

When people ask me what do I want to do with my shiny degree, I get nervous. People are just curious and some are judgemental and really want to pry into your life if you sound even a little unsure of yourself. Don’t let people place their fears on you. Tomorrow may be the day it clicks for you. Work hard. Be happy where you are and the process you’re going through. It’s okay to say, “You know, I really don’t know yet but I know I am on my way to finding out.”