What do you want to be when you grow up?

When I was in elementary school, I wanted to be a marine biologist. It was of no matter to me that I hated math and science. I loved animals, especially dolphins, and being a marine biologist was what I wanted to be, end of story. I vaguely remember sitting at care after school with a book on marine biology scribbling notes into my “marine biology notebook” about what the job entailed. I completely engulfed myself in my passion, and there was no doubt in my mind that I would grow up and be the best marine biologist ever (and swim with lots of dolphins, because that was my real motive).

Some time later, I set my heart on being a fashion designer. I didn’t care that I couldn’t sew, that wasn’t important and besides, I knew my grandma could teach me the basics. I obtained an awesome computer program in which I could create outfits and then Barbie would model them on the runway (yes, I still liked Barbie at an older age). I also spent lots of time doodling outfits in a notepad; I was obviously very professional.

I never became a marine biologist or a fashion designer, but as a result of reflecting on my dreams as a child I now see clearly how easy it can be to lose sight of your dreams as an adult. Now that I’m “grown up,” I wonder, how easily do we give up on our dreams when we enter the “real” world? Once we know the importance of finance and success in the working world, isn’t it easy to abandon our passion because of fear of the unknown?

I’m opening this one up to you guys – what do you think? Have you found yourself putting your dreams on the backburner because of a fear of failure? Do you think it’s easy to lose sight of your goals as an adult because of other factors in life?

Photo source.

26 thoughts on “What do you want to be when you grow up?

  1. haybost

    I couldn’t agree with you more. So easily are we pressured to think realistically: How are you going to live on your own? How are you going to pay for your car? blah blah blah.

    Personally I have fought these things all my life. I have dreamt of being a social worker and traveling internationally since I was maybe 10. Despite my family’s concerns about this profession (that will make me NOTHING$$$$ and consist of a whole lot of stress) I haven’t let them change my mind. Two more years and I will have a bachelors degree in social work and couldn’t be happier!
    My motto: Do what you love, life is to short not too.

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      It’s so true! Once you get into the real world and have to worry about all of those things, it’s easy to be afraid of pursuing your dream, especially if it’s one where you know you may not make a lot of money. Congratulations on choosing social work, I think that’s awesome that you’re pursuing it even though others may not think its a good idea. Ultimately you will be happy because you’ll be doing something you really love. Best of luck and thanks for commenting!!

      Reply
  2. Maria

    I had the fashion designer dream too! My now mother in law even bought me a sewing machine in high school 🙂 I never got around to learning how to use it though. I knew I wanted to be an attorney at an early age and now that I am an attorney, I look at different hobbies and blogging so that I’m always growing 🙂 Great post, Stephanie!

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      I feel like its a female right of passage or something…you must have a fashion designer dream as a little girl! 🙂 And that’s a great perspective…once you are doing what you want to do in life hobbies are a great way to challenge yourself/grow even more. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Danielle

    I’ve always been interested and passionate about makeup and beauty, but never really pursed it for one reason or another. Now that I have been I am already feeling so fulfilled and seeing the hard work pay off little by little! I have my first “job” to two two bridesmaids makeup in two weeks and am happy with how my YouTube channel has been doing. 🙂 Trying something new can def. be scary. The fear of failing and not knowing what step to take first are rough! I say it’s always worth a try though. 🙂

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      That’s so inspiring! I’m glad you’re finally on the path to doing what you ultimately want to do in life. I am the same way with photography…its a slow start taking a few jobs at a time but I feel so fulfilled when I get to do it for “work.” I agree 100%, it can be terrifying and rough but you’ll make it through! Wishing you the best of luck Danielle, and yes I would love to add you to my blogroll. I’m on vaca, but I’ll add you as soon as I’m home! 🙂

      Reply
  4. Always Maylee

    When I was little I wanted to be a fashion designer too. And at some point I wanted to be a doctor and then a lawyer and then a teacher. Then later I decided I wanted to be a business woman. Haha, whatever that means. I guess technically I fulfilled that last one! 🙂

    xo, Yi-chia
    Always Maylee

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      It’s funny how much we change from childhood to adulthood! I def wanted to be many more things but I ended up choosing to be a photographer 🙂 Still working on getting there but I know I can do it! Congrats on fulfilling your own career dreams.

      Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      Very ambitious! But not a bad thing! I can relate also, I went to school for photography but didn’t realize until after school how difficult it can be to make a living on it, or at least get started as a professional in the field.

      Reply
  5. alongobucco

    I completely agree with this–even in college it was more what CAN you make a living doing rather than what do you WANT to do. Even having landed my dream career as a magazine editor, I still worry over where my professional path will (or won’t) take me. Sometimes I wish I could go back to the day when I thought a professional four-square coach or nail polish tester was a possibility (seriously…actually, I might still go for that second one.)

    xo, Alyssa
    The Glossy Life

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      SO true. I choose art school and it’s one of the worst areas to go into because of the amount of unemployed artists in the world. I truly am a starving artist at times! I’m glad you’re getting the chance to do what you love, and I’m sure you’ll go far even if it seems scary now! And yes, professional nail polish tester is legit, right? What about naming the polishes? Maybe I can give that a shot…

      Reply
  6. Rachel @ Making Life Fabulous

    What a great post, and an important reminder, this definitely hit home with me. It is all to easy to lose sight of our dreams, I recently came out of a relationship that had caused me to forget the dreams and values that were most important to me! But it’s never too late to reclaim those dreams, and even come up with new ones!

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      Thank you Rachel! It’s easy to lose sight of what you want in a relationship, and I’m glad you were able to get back on track 🙂 I’m lucky to have finally found a man who supports my dreams and encourages me to follow them, sometimes even more than I encourage myself. I hope you get to find the same!! I’m glad you could relate to this, its something we all go through sooner or later, but you’re right, it is NEVER too late to follow your dreams!

      Reply
  7. thestatestreetedit

    This post is so relatable – I wanted to be a beauty writer for Seventeen Magazine (yes, I was that specific) when I was really young, and then a retinal surgeon/dentist/nutritionist/insert-scientist-job-here when I hit high school. When I got to college I realized that that just wasn’t doing it for me anymore, and I’m glad I didn’t pursue it further because it felt like that was what the “right” career was. I find photography really fulfilling, too, but the idea of pursuing it professionally does scare me a little bit. What I’ve seen of your work so far is really fantastic, and I think you’re going to be really successful at following your dreams! 🙂

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      So true – it’s tough when you’re in high school because there’s a lot of pressure to pursue something where you will have financial security and a guaranteed job versus pursuing what you are truly passionate about. I toyed with the idea of “business” for awhile but realize that just wasn’t me. I’m glad I chose photography, even though my career is still a work in progress. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and thank you SO much for the kind compliment on my photography, that really means a lot. 🙂

      Reply
  8. mollystillman

    man, i could write a novel about this… i feel like yes and no, i have not pursued things because of fear of failure… however, i do feel like everything happens for a reason 🙂

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      I think you’re right — that’s definitely something I live by myself! At the end of the day, we’re all works in progress and we’re all always growing. While we may be a little scared of our future now, we’ll get there in the end! 🙂

      Reply
  9. crazystylelove

    What a great question and very thought provoking! I don’t think I have not done something because of fear of failure, but more because I realized I didn’t have that particular talent or because I really didn’t have a realistic idea of what the job entailed. When I was younger, I always wanted to be a doctor. I just loved the thought of being able to help people. However, I can’t stand the site of blood or an open wound. There is no way I would have been able to make it through medical school, and I don’t think any patient wants a doctor to throw up on them when they show her something gross. To this day, I still wish I could have been a doctor, but it just wasn’t right for me.

    xo Jenny
    http://www.crazystylelove.com

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      That’s a very good point, and also a reason I’ve chosen not to do certain things. When you’re young it’s easy to think you can do anything, but when you get older it becomes clear whether or not those things are actually “right” for you or not. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here!!

      Reply
  10. creamyclothes

    I totally agree with this. I pretty much wanted to be everything at one time. The good thing however is that I look at my life and would change anything. I guess that is the point, to get somewhere we are totally content. I don’t know how content I would be doing anything but what I do. Love this post!
    Creamye

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      Haha I wanted to be everything once too! It changed every minute, I swear. I wouldn’t change anything either, I feel blessed to be where I’m at now and am a happy person. I guess that is what matters most at the end of the day. 🙂

      Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      And there is NOTHING wrong with that! I think we get a lot of pressure to have it all figured out, but that can just lead us into a dead end. It’s good to explore all of your options and figure out what you’re passionate about and then go for it. Good luck with your search!!

      Reply

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