I always find that question a bit odd, what do you want to be when you grow up? It is especially odd when it is asked to small children. There are some people out there practically born knowing what they want to do for a living, and then there are those of us who are still trying to figure it out. I have a very dear friend, practically family, who is a generation older than I am and she still often jokes about what she wants to do when she “grows-up.” I love this idea because I am not one of those lucky individuals who was born knowing what I want to do, it has taken a long time to find my passion. We are always growing, and that is a good thing.
Growing up I was taught that life was something you survived, it happened to you but not as an active participant, but a passive one. When I met my husband I remember him telling me how backward this idea was. I had never seen one make goals, and actively work in life to achieve them, in a big way. Not long after we had started dating, I had to leave college, my parents were paying for me to attend a private art school, and simply could not afford for me to go back. I was devastated. I took a job as a hostess in a Greek-owned restaurant, it was an experience, to say the least. The point was, I was miserable. I felt like I was being resigned to a fate that I did not want, to be poor and uneducated. I remember complaining about it one day to my boyfriend, who became my husband. He turned to me and said, “it is your life, if you do not like it, change it.” I dismissed him and started to rattle off all of the excuses why I couldn’t change it. He stopped me, and repeated it again, and said, “Jack, you are in charge of your life, it is up to you to make it what you want it to be, no one else.” That time it clicked.
That concept hit hard, and I realized that if I wanted things to change, it would be me that would have to change them. My parents, friends or extended family weren’t going to have to do it for me, I was going to have to make changes for myself. It wasn’t an overnight change in habit, but eventually, I began to stop blaming others and re-focus my energy in making real and lasting changes in my life. Five years ago, I took the biggest step and walked away from a dangerous, abusive relationship with a family member. I made the choice, I took the step. It was incredibly difficult but I found that I was so much stronger than I ever thought I could have been.
Once I was away, from that dangerous and dysfunctional situation, my life really did change for the better. I am not going to say it was easy, it wasn’t at all. But it was a springboard for me, catapulting me to begin to have dreams and desires. I was living in “survival mode” for so long, I couldn’t fully grab onto my own life. My point here is, that really only within the past eighteen months have I began to search and make conscious decisions about what and who I want to be when I “grow up.” I have begun to find my dreams again, old ones and discover new ones.
What I find so interesting about all of this, is more than anything I want to be a published author, and be successful enough to support myself that way. I have taken control and written a work that I am immensely proud of, did all of the research I could about querying, and have started querying to find a literary agent. Here is where the irony comes in, I have done everything in my power to make the dream a reality, but now it is out of my hands. I am having to be a passive participant, hoping an agent sees something in me to pick me up as a client. To say that this is a difficult process is an understatement. Please do not misunderstand, this is not a complaint, but merely an observation. Having been a linebacker in my own life, pushing through what I want, it is hard to wait for the ball to be passed, and the touchdown to be scored. (Sorry if the football analogy doesn’t’ make any sense, I am rubbish at sports.)
At this point in my life, and only at this point in my life have I figured out what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be a bestselling author, publishing romance novels, and spreading love one story at a time. So, my growing-up and learning continue, in a new life lesson, knowing when to move the ball down the field and when to pass it to the next person who can!