Finding My Home-Run
As soon as we start our education journey, we are asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Some people who answer that question in Kindergarten might actually end up doing what they say at five, but probably not many. I wanted to be a marine biologist and then I learned that meant leaving Illinois… and my family. Then I became interested in baking and wanted to be a chef. And now I’m a school counselor yet my career journey began as a special education teacher.
As I sit here and I’m reflecting on my life, I am trying to get out of my head with how my life is supposed to be. I am in the middle of closing a chapter. It’s not a chapter I thought would close. It’s not a chapter that has been easy to close. It’s not a chapter I thought I would be the one to choose to close. And with that chapter closing, I have to accept that my life is not what I thought it would be which is what has me thinking back to that question of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” We push that on humans at such a young age… and yet there’s very little discussion with it about how humans are meant to change. We are meant to grow. We are meant to learn. We are meant to explore.
If I could go back and channel thoughts to my five year old self when asked about what I want to be when I grow up , I would say, “You want to be happy, Sadie. Just happy.”
If I could go back and channel thoughts to my ten year old self, I would say, “You want to be happy, Sadie. Just happy.”
If I could go back and channel thoughts to my 20 year old self, I would say, “You want to be happy, Sadie. Just happy.”
As I sit here today, at 31, in a position I never thought I would find myself in… I am realizing that I just want to be happy. Maybe it doesn’t look like what I thought it would. Maybe it doesn’t look like society says it should. I’m recognizing the weight of that simple question that we begin at five or even sooner, what do you want to be when you grow up… and how we need to recognize and discuss that life is not picture perfect. It’s not going to go exactly how we want. It throws curveballs all the time. Some of us may knock that curveball out of the park the first time and some of us may strike out, but does a strike out mean we never bat again? No. Every pitch has factors with it… the wind, the pitcher, the speed, the grip on the bat, the focus of the eye. So many things can affect the contact of the ball and the bat and where it will land, if they even connect at all. And honestly, I’m realizing that being up to bat, I am my own worst enemy. I’m in my head. My eye isn’t on the ball. My mind is so focused on what the world wants. What the crowd thinks I should do, or how I should be, and not on me.
We are meant to change. We adapt. We grow. We learn. We overcome. Do I love animals? Yes. All of them. Enter the five year old me wanting to help dolphins. Do I love to cook? Absolutely. I love improvising in the kitchen and seeing how it goes. Did I pursue either one of those for a career? No. But do they still make up a part of me? Absolutely. My interest throughout life have found their way into my life in other ways besides my career. They are things that make me happy but are not my job.
When asking someone what they want to be when they grow up—the answer should be happy. The focus should not be identifying a career as an identity. Let’s identify how to be happy. Okay right now you’re five, what makes you happy? Right now you’re ten, what makes you happy? You’re 20, what makes you happy? Oh no, life threw a curveball, and this chapter is extra hard, what do you NEED to be happy?
Get out of your head about what they teach us life should be. What we should be. Zone into yourself. Your mind and your body… and ask yourself, what do you need to be happy?!
That is what matters. You. Being. Happy. Life is too short for anything else. Find that internal peace. And it can change. We change. So don’t hesitate to pause and reflect. Listen to yourself and if you feel that internal peace taking a backseat again… pause, take a deep breath, and find your happy. Find your home-run moment, person, place, experience in every chapter. What makes you happy?