I’ve always had a deep admiration for people in my life that knew at an early age what they wanted to do for a living, pursued the appropriate steps, and realized their goal. I’ve also had a deep envy for them.
I have never known what I wanted to be when I grew up. Well, other than a mother, which is so socially unacceptable to say that I cringe at myself and then blush a little with embarrassment. But I yearned for motherhood so consistently and with such fervor for so long that I think until I became a mother I wasn’t able to think clearly about the other things I wanted to accomplish in life. Not that I didn’t have other interests– because I did— but I simply couldn’t focus on them with my undivided attention.
Well, but now I AM a mother, and as my babies grow a little more each year, the other possibilities come into clearer focus.
I think it’s a common phenomena that many of us experience- this inability to say with any conviction what I want to be when I grow up. It’s expected that we have, at a young age, a direction, that we declare a major, and carry on from there. I was not able to say at 18, or 21, or 25, or even 30 what I wanted to do, FOR SURE. I mean, how many 18 year olds really do know themselves well enough to make that kind of decision? I think most of us flounder and then take a stab in the dark, and only some of us end up with a career path that we both love and is well suited for our personalities.
Learning the meaning of the word “doula” was the first time in my life that I thought “I want to do THAT.” I began teaching childbirth classes and my doula training when Kate and Joan were a year old. It’s been a wonderful path and a great job for me. I don’t think I’d be who I am today without the experiences I’ve had. While I still love being a doula, lately I felt restless with my doula role… like there’s more I could offer society.
But what else do I want to do? (Besides have 1 more baby, of course.) Photography? Birth photography? Social work? Psychology? Midwifery? Writing/editing/publishing? Teaching? These are all things that have interested me at some point in my adult life. Lately I’m most drawn to photography and midwifery, each with their own set of pros and cons that I wrestle daily.
So, how about you? Did you know from a young age what you wanted to be? Were you right? How did you find your current career path, if you have one? If you haven’t, how are you dealing with that? I feel like, at age 35 I shouldn’t still be stumbling around. I do have a better idea of what I would love and what would be a good fit for me than I did when I was 20, but still. Stumbling.