What Are You Going To Be When You Grow Up

I was thinking about a few different things lately. One item that took center stage was the question, often asked of young people, what are you going to be when you grow up?

Do you remember ever being asked this?

I think it’s pretty common, especially for adults to ask kids. It seems to grow in intensity once children are in high school and nearing college age. The focus seems to change from speculation to a need for precision.

Our high school asked every senior about to graduate what they thought their eventual career would be. Like most everyone else in my class I had no real idea. I liked facts and figures, so I answered that I might be a statistician.

Yeah right. Who in their right mind chooses that for a career?

That led me to wondering how far astray each one of us goes from our original plans. That was certainly the case with me. I spent twenty-five years in banking and thirteen years more in the non-profit world before retiring. As soon as I left the work world behind, I began helping take care of our two local grandchildren, which I consider my most rewarding ‘career’.

Of course, none of these things were on my mind as young child or even as a seventeen-year-old high school senior on my way to college. In retrospect, I wonder just how many people end up choosing the career they’d imagined when younger.

This is certainly the case with my daughter. Prior to attending kindergarten, she wanted to be a gas station attendant because she liked the smell of gasoline so much. This was back when the gas station staff filled up your car for you. But, as soon as she went to school, she wanted to be a teacher and she never looked back and in fact, she still is a teacher, and an excellent one at that.

I wonder about the number of times folks change their careers or pursuits. In the generation before me and well into my generation, it was a rare thing to shift to a different job. But now it seems to be fairly normal to have many different jobs and employers during your career. It makes me curious about what inspires the changes and whose decision it is.

Back when this whole idea surfaced something jumped out at me. When our focus is on the future, how much of the present is lost? Do we miss valuable present-day experiences because we’re planning and dreaming about our future life?

I thought about this for myself, wondering what I’ve missed out on, by side stepping the present, in favor of thoughts about my future.

Could the present and future somehow sit side by side in an easy companionship? Can they for you? And would there be some benefits if they did?

I also wondered about the clarifying part of the question, “when you grow up.” When exactly does this happen? Is it by a specific age or maybe once we’ve achieved certain milestones? It’s also amusing to me what children answer about this, especially because they consider anyone older than them to be a ‘grown up’.

Since I’ve asked a lot of questions, I thought it would be fair to answer some of them, so here they are. Personally, I don’t ever intend to ‘grow up’, if that means having to pay full attention to all of the TO DO items and lose sight of the fun stuff, like throwing snowballs, jumping into a puddle or two, staring at rainbows, watching the sun set and finding laughter in everyday events.

If I had it all to do over again and my current self could give some advice to my kid self, I’d tell him to relax, slow down, enjoy what you have, try new things, explore more, make mistakes, and connect with as many people as you can.

What would you tell your younger self? What changes feel like good ideas to you?

Here’s to hoping you find all of your best answers.

Blueprint for Life

Have you heard the simple saying, ‘in a nutshell’?

I hear it less now than I did in the past, but occasionally someone still mentions it. Ordinarily, they’re using it to sum up an idea in just a few words, or as another way of saying, “to make a long story short.”

The funny thing is, it hardly ever does. Most stories seem long, including my own, as if they are too difficult to shorten.

Hearing the expression recently I thought about nutshells. Take an acorn, for example. Acorns are very small, about the size of a large marble, but they can grow to a towering height of 60, 80 or even 100 feet tall.

How do you suppose the contents of that little acorn can create such a marvelous tree? Can you imagine the blueprint inside that sets in motion such a spectacular event?

I realize many things must come together to make it happen. Water, soil, decent weather, absence of fires, good nutrients, and of course the warmth and nourishment of the sun.

I started to wonder about other things in nature. Do all of them come from such humble beginnings?

That got me wondering about us. About our human species and our beginnings. We start out even smaller than an acorn and look what happens to us. Sure, we don’t grow to the impressive height of an oak tree, but we are incredible, nonetheless.

Do we each have a blueprint hidden inside of us? And, are our blueprints unique?

It feels important to me for each of us to decide about our own answers to these two simple questions because it sets the stage for what we experience in our lives. If we believe our life is cast in stone, it will feel very limiting to us. But, if we consider that our blueprint is just a starting point and that we can build on it in any direction we wish, it becomes something else entirely.

I want to share what feels like the truth to me.

I believe each of us chose to come to earth and that we created a blueprint that would allow us to experience a certain kind of life. I also believe that we have complete free will and are able to shift and change any part of our blueprint that does not feel right to us. We can choose to embrace any ideas that support us and choose to release any ideas that restrict us or confine us or limit us in any way.

You may be thinking right now, how can our blueprint provide structure for our life if we don’t know what our blueprint is? After all it’s not as if we were handed an instruction guide when we arrived.

So, how are we to know what our blueprint is?

I believe there are many ways to uncover our blueprints.

We are each naturally gifted with some talents, ones that become obvious to us by our own observation. At other times, someone else may see something in us that we don’t and encourage us to pursue new paths. And, as we move through our lives, we are likely to discover parts of your blueprint as we attend school, play sports, engage in the arts, learn skills, or excel in a profession.

For me though the best way to know about our blueprint is to talk with god about it. To have an honest, direct, open conversation, asking for insight and placing yourself in a receptive frame of mind to listen and hear god’s answers.

In my own conversations I feel guided and supported. I am never told what to do and I’ve come to realize that every path leads me forward, if I am open and accepting. I understand that my blueprint is only a starting point for my life, and I am free to expand, to create and to experience all possibilities.

I marvel at the beautiful design of each of our blueprints and what we are capable of becoming.