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As a kid, how much did you either love or loathe the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?“
I really didn’t enjoy it, to be honest. I mean, I don’t think it’s WRONG to ask kids what they want to be when they grow up. That’s not what I’m saying at all. But, I feel like we put so much pressure on ourselves to have this master plan of what we’re going to do for the rest of our lives.
You know, instead of focusing on just being kids and learning to enjoy learning and playing and growing and experiencing and making mistakes.
Me? When I was little, and really up until my mid-20s, if you asked me the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I would have answered: “Be on Saturday Night Live.”
It was totally my dream. And I’ve mentioned before, really up until a few years ago, I was convinced that was what I was going to do… make people laugh for a living on the TV.
I bet you there’s a large number of people who have a college degree in something that they didn’t even end up going into the workforce to do. I started out in college as a musical theater major! Clearly I’m not on broadway right now… haha!
My parents did such a good job of always supporting me, no matter what it was that I was interested in. When I was playing golf, they supported that. They came to all my musicals and choral performances. My dad would drive to see my comedy shows in college.
They were all about encouraging me in whatever I undertook… even if it was something I ended up being totally disinterested in (like learning to play the viola and the oboe).
Because, even if I took up something that I ended up really not liking, they encouraged me to at least try it, but they didn’t fault me if I failed. In fact, they helped to pick me up when I failed and show me how to learn from it.
That’s what I feel like LIFE is about. It’s not about knowing EXACTLY what you are supposed to do from an early age… it’s about trying, failing, succeeding, learning, and growing. It’s about promoting hard work and a strong work ethic. And it’s about NOT beating yourself up when something doesn’t pan out the way you anticipated.
Now that I have a daughter of my own, I know that I’m going to love and encourage her in whatever passions she discovers. I will applaud her successes, encourage her through the trials, and work with her through her failures. I won’t tell her she HAS to have an idea of what she wants to do when she gets older… I just will tell her to pursue what makes her heart full and what gets her up in the morning.
But most of all, I want her to be a good human. I want her to treat others with respect, care of those less fortunate, serve in her community, be kind and generous, and go out of her way to improve the lives of others.
I think the more we place an emphasis on THOSE things as kids, I think as we all get older and go out into the “work world” we’ll be making the world, as a whole, a better place to live in.
What about you? What did YOU want to be when you grew up?