All of us were asked at some point “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I struggled with this question for a long time and I still do.
In highschool I watched a video by youtuber Christopher Bingham in which he reflected on his various school experiences and rated them. At the very end he asks “Now that it’s over… what do I do?” All throughout university I had this question hanging over my head. I knew it was coming and now I have to ask myself that question for real.
In elementary school I wanted to be a clown. I now cringe at the thought as I am terrified of clowns, but I loved the idea of making people laugh – making people happy. I don’t remember what made me change my mind, but I’m glad I did.
The next thing I wanted to be was an actor. When I discovered that I could make my classmates laugh (usually by borrowing Monty Python styles) I fell in love with performance. I learned from working at summer camp that I could also make my coworkers and campers laugh, but something was wrong. I was making people laugh but I was doing it by pretending to be things I wasn’t. I felt like I was losing myself so I put acting aside for a while.
I wanted to be a chef for a while. I do love cooking. I love the idea of providing for people and I love that what you make materially becomes part of your audience. I think that’s pretty cool. What I don’t think is cool is the snobbery, the perfectionism, the rush, and the stress of working in kitchens. That ruined being a chef for me.
At the end of highschool I wanted to be a youth pastor. Youth pastors and other church leaders had a deep impact on my life. They were invaluable in a time that I was rather depressed. But it occurred to me later in university that I didn’t actually like the idea of leading youth. I liked the idea of wanting a job that people approved of. I liked that the people I admired were supportive of my plan.
So I dropped out of the youth ministry stream of my university and majored in theatre and english. Which I loved! I love reading texts, discerning their meaning, and embodying them on stage for the consideration of others. I also love cooking, making people laugh, and helping people’s faith. I love writing, I love acting, and I love singing. I loved studying and practicing all of these things.
“But now that it’s over… what do I do?”
What do I pursue as a career? One of these things or something else? Once I know what I want to do, how do I do it? What am I actually good at? What do I want to do when I grow up? As the end of university drew closer, I began asking the adults in life how they “figured it out.” Turns out that they didn’t. Turns out they’re still doing guesswork.
I guess that means I’m on the right track.