How do you know, when you’re 4 or 19 or 25 – or even 50 for that matter – what you want to do with the rest of your life?
When I was a kid, thanks to Mike Nelson and “Sea Hunt,” I wanted to be an oceanographer but new math sort of pulled the plug on my plans to become a scientist. That plus someone who meant no harm but tossed a sarcastic grenade into my boat. What a shame. I would have been a good one.
New math and nuns aside, how can you know?
This past Saturday, I was delighted to join my great-nephew Nicholas, his parents and grandparents as he was recognized by the Purdue University College of Education with a renewing annual scholarship. He’s leaning toward education right now but is planning on law school at some point. At 20, he has talent, integrity and a sense of humor. (He’s cute, too, but then he is my nephew.) He’ll be good at whatever he chooses.
Looking back on where my head might have been at 20 – how could I have known what I wanted to do with my life? My career in marketing and communications has been great – rewarding in so many ways. But once I realized my bad math brain was a result of poor teachers, I was so far down the corporate marketing path that a career change would have been costly, again, in so many ways.
When I was young people used to ask us what we wanted to be when we “grew up.” Of course now I see that growing up is relative, but that’s beside the point. As I write this, I think of all the writing for me to do – magazine articles and books on pages and pages of notes under this desk. When is it too late to make a career change?
We’ve all read about 98 year-olds getting degrees they’ve always wanted. Some of my readers have been forced into careers or career changes due to in companies and the economy. What can we teach our children so they know their choices are limitless? How do we communicate the notion they can be anything they want to be and that we’ll do all we can to help them?
I wish someone had said that to me. I might have discovered new jellyfish off the coast of Norway or been trainer at The Shedd – who knows. (I might have been wearing a Red Lobster suit and handing out coupons, too.) Regardless, I’m very happy with my life and maybe I will still take those oceanography classes.
My point is: How do teach the children around you that their lives are filled with limitless possibilities?