What do you want to be when you grow up? Hint: Tick more than one option

I love childhood stories.

I love listening to them and telling them, even when they’re not my own. Kids, in all their innocence, do and say the strangest things and no other stories could be more entertaining!

This Senti-Sunday, there’s one particular story I’d like to share.

When my brother was about five years old, his Kindergarten teacher asked them all what they wanted to be when they grew up. I can only imagine all the interesting answers she must have got. Elephant, Truck driver, Tall, Mickey Mouse. And the realistic answers like doctor and teacher.

Anyway, class got over and all the five-year-olds went back home to do whatever five-year-olds did back then. (I’m talking 1995 so they were certainly not Candy Crushing)

A few days later, my brother’s best friend and neighbour was found distressed and crying. Her parents were concerned and they tried to coax her into telling them what happened. Finally, she said, “I told my teacher I wanted to become a doctor. But now I don’t want to!”

Whenever I hear this story, I think ‘Aww, it’s so cute that she thought she couldn’t change her decision.’ But then, I think this kid was onto something.

After all, think about how we discuss careers among family and friends at that ‘important turning point’ after class 10. There’s a tone of finality about it when you say ‘I am taking Science because I want to become a doctor.’ Or ‘I am going to be a Chartered Accountant now.’

You’ve decided. You are going to be this one thing all your life.  

That’s what I used to think, too. I am going to be a journalist and that’s that. Whenever I met a person doing cool work in an interesting field, I would think with a pang of regret, ‘Damn, I wish I had taken up this, instead!’

But the more people I meet, the more I realise that I had it all wrong. Being an adult does not mean you stop exploring.

I know a guy who went from being a journalist to a social worker to an entrepreneur and sustainability advocate. Someone else was a management professional before she decided to study Law along with her son and become an advocate for child rights.

And it doesn’t even have to be a career switch.

I have met doctors who are artists and artists who are doctors.

Passion, profession, whatever you want to call it, you can always find a way to be and do more than one thing in life. After all, that’s what makes life interesting.

As for me, I want to be a published author, and a hermit after I turn 35. More on that some other time.

That’s enough wisdom for one Sunday.



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