What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up?

What do I want to be when I grow up? I think I have been asking myself that since I was a little girl. Hmmm…. I remember I wanted to own a pet store, be a hairstylist, be a nurse, be a mom. There were so many choices, I guess I can blame my mom, as she never encouraged me to really have dreams beyond the ordinary.

grow up

I was never a super academic student. I am pretty sure it was not because I was dumb….but instead I was a daydreamer and really not that interested in what I was supposed to be learning. In high school I skipped out a lot. I did not know what I really wanted to do after high school, so I never bothered to go to college, and I just worked some casual jobs while I decided.

Then along came marriage, children and motherhood. That busied me for a few years. I learned a few sewing skills, and spent several years working in fabric stores, for a bridal designer and doing some custom sewing. I was good at it and for the most part I enjoyed it, but it really didn’t feel like ‘enough’.

I did some reading on doulas and decided I really needed to be a doula. I did this for over 10 years. I loved it…. it gave me purpose, it gave me new things to learn. It gave me passion. I loved learning anatomy, learning about birth and learning how to help women have a positive birth experience. I eventually moved onto teaching prenatal classes. Since doulaing was not a full time thing, especially in the beginning, I did some administration work both for a municipality and then I worked for  non profit organization. While I did not love doing admin work, I was good at it, and I did take some enjoyment from the mundane tasks of bookkeeping and keeping things organized. It was predictable, until it got boring.

I also did a stint for the health system running a parent mentoring program, this job mostly consisted of trying to convince people that they needed some positive parenting help when they where quite sure they didn’t. The fact that social services was about to take their kids away was irrelevant to them. This job was both sad and frustrating.

Eventually I just found I needed to retire from doula work. I got tired. I got burnt out after spending to much time working in the hospital system and I just didn’t want to live life being on call.

I did a 3 year stint as a customer service agent for a small airline. I loved that job. It was part time and gave me enough responsibility and unpredictability to make me feel useful and keep me on my toes. But after 3 years I left it for a full time, well paying admin job. It was definitely not my best decision ever. I was very unhappy and didn’t feel at all fulfilled doing it. It didn’t last long as after about 6 months my husband accepted a job and we ended up doing a big move 4 hours away.

Fast forward three years and one more move later…. and here I am. Three months shy of 50 years old, wondering what the hell I want to do when I grow up. We live in a pretty rural place and as much as I could use the income, I have not yet found a job that looks interesting enough for me to make the 40 minute highway drive to the nearest town. I did apply for a job at our local real estate office.  They called to  tell me that while I was well enough qualified, I would not be getting the job. The reason being…get this, I was a non smoker! YUP…because everyone in the office smoked in the office, and I was a non smoker he figured it would lead to problems down the road. I was not upset at all… I was just amused and took it as a sign that it was not the job for me.

When you live in a small town…well, it’s title is a hamlet, there are not much for local options.

Do I retrain for something? But what… I don’t have years to waste. Maybe something that would be a great business in a small town ( hamlet)? hmmm…. that is certainly taking a gamble. BUT then again like back in high school, what would I train to do anyway? I get really excited about new things, but also tend to have a lot of interests and hop from one thing to another. I suppose it is not the end of the world if I do not have a job, but I really have a need to feel useful, productive, creative…. along with having an income.

I love the nutrition, and alternative health and healing and I study these topics for fun.  But there is not a great demand for these services locally. Online business is the way to go…. but so much time is spent on everything but the thing you love that it becomes a dreary chore.

Looking back on my life, oh isn’t that a fun thing to do, I often think I should have been a nurse….but my husband reminds me I do not do well on shift work. Ok, maybe an accountant, a lawyer, a designer?? Whatever… I just wish I had picked something and stayed with it! But I do know one thing about myself, and that is that I am easily bored and doing the same thing day in, day out for years, just sucks the life out of me. I can not sew the same thing over and over, and I can not issue utility bills day in and day out either.

I guess for now…. I continue with my little sewing business. I will continue to learn and study all the health and nutrition things I like, dabble in some online photo classes and dream about all of the things I can be when or if I choose to grow up!



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  1. I still don’t know what I want to do hen I grow up. I have loved just being a housewife, mother, grandmother. While sometimes, when I wasn’t working I did become bored with the same old routine, I loved the sameness of it. But I did find that when I am not working outside of the home I become homebound. The thought of going somewhere, seeing and speaking to people seemed like to much of an effort. At least working outside the home I interact with people more and I get out of the house but it’s not my dream job …….
    I really dislike the idea that we need to decide what we want to do for the rest of our lives. Job change can be good and there is nothing wrong with being a housewife/husband.

  2. I owned a entail business for 10 years after moving back to a small town. It was successful enough but I got burned out! I hated people! I quit went back to being an employee and after 8 years quit that now I enjoy irking from home doing books for a few…on my own time, own pace……maybe you could dog sit for people when they are away, clean houses, paint homes……make homemade dog biscuits to sell online…..there is always ways to make extra cash, it’s just finding what you love…..

  3. I am am 5 months shy of the big Five-0 (50). I want to be fully pursuing my fulfills me for the second part of my life. Getting out of the 9-5 grind is crucial for me, so I am already simplifying, and I already scaled back to 9-2! 🙂

  4. I love your attitude and your openness and, boy oh boy, can I relate! At 53 years old, I’ve never held the same position for over 2 years. My longest stint at any one company was 6 years and I had 4 positions during that time. Now, I am self-employed as a counselor, crocheter, designer, artist, and blogger. It’s ridiculous and wonderful at the same time. I think when I grow up, I just want to be a grandma.

  5. I never figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up either. I started out as a dental hygienist (because my parents didn’t want me going to university – because “it was a waste to overeducate women”!) then I did some reception work, then some PA work, then I worked in a government callcentre, then dental reception and now a surgeon’s receptionist. I’m hoping that working 3 days a week will stop me getting bored and wanting to change again – but who knows – retirement is still 10 years away and anything can happen!
    Leanne recently posted…5 BENEFITS OF THE EMPTY NESTMy Profile

  6. I can relate to this! I spent a of years wondering what career path I would have chosen had I not been pushed toward “traditional” female jobs. It was always a difficult question to answer as my little town (and school) did not encourage anything beyond the familiar. I’ve returned to that same little town and it hasn’t changed. I’m still an outlier.

  7. I wish it were more common for American kids to take a year off after college (like many kids in Europe do)to travel or work and experience the world. It’s unrealistic that at 18, we should know what we want to do for the rest of our life. You’re not alone in wondering what you’re going to do when you grow up. Brenda

    1. I agree… we put pressure on kids. I would live to see work experience and volunteer experience be actual school subjects. Let kids get out and try things through out their high school years. So many flounder around and then go off to college without a clue. Some of us are just drifters also and we have so many interests and passions that we like to follow.

  8. I was lucky enough to stumble into a career where I didn’t do the same thing every day–where I was constantly learning–and getting paid for it. Such is the fortunate life of a journalist (and one that is increasingly no longer available). But there’s always second guessing. I always thought I had a natural bent for psychotherapy. Oh well. Have to be happy with what I got and did.
    penpen recently posted…Helicopter Parents: Hovering at home, college and even the officeMy Profile

  9. I’ve spent unbelievable amounts of time thinking about all of this the past year or so and keep returning back to one word —-> content.
    I will get there and what career will accompany it? I have no idea yet 🙂
    Carla recently posted…You do not offend me.My Profile

  10. I think it’s great that you have a wide array of skills. It’s too bad there isn’t a formalized job with pay and benefits for resident wise woman. You’d be a perfect fit. I have faith that you will find meaningful work. You’ve done so in the past. I’m eager to see your next step. All my best to you.

  11. I always found the thought process of “what should I do?” to be as frustrating as the “what do I write about?”

    The feeling that you must decide can get in the way of everything.

    It sounds like you are a caring person more concerned with connection than money. Maybe training for six months or so to earn a certificate in the medical field? If that’s for you, go to the job boards at different hospitals and check out what kind of training you’d need to something that looks interesting to you.

    You are at a lovely point too, at nearly fifty, of being able to offer compassion, wisdom and all your intellectual gifts. Don’t forget that. Good luck!
    Susan C. Bonifant recently posted…You don’t have to have lunch with ShirleyMy Profile

  12. Like you, I am not sure what I am going to be when I grow up. I will be 64 in September and am still wondering!!!!!!!!!! I think unless you trained to be a doctor or lawyer, one tends to experience many different types of jobs throughout their life. I have worked in the hotel business, done work at a bank, been a professional fundraiser for national presidential candidates and non-profits, worked in D.C. for a lobbying organization, been deputy treasurer for a presidential campaign, in real estate with my husband and now I am in the vagina business! Who knows what is next for me?!?!?!? I am like an unfinished painting….I keep adding colors — perhaps the painting will never be done.

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