We ask kids all the time what they want to be when they grow up. I am sure it is something they are asked a thousand times during their childhood. I know I was by teachers, parents, grandparents and even other kids from time to time.
Now it is something I ask my children from time to time and like the majority of other children their age, they have zero idea and have no desire to try and figure that out right now. Why should they? They think adulthood is light years away for them, like they have all the time in the world to try and figure out what they want to do with the rest of their lives.
When kids are younger (if you do get a response), most of the time you will be met with answers like a princess or a superhero. As they get a little older it turns into something a little less farfetched like a movie star, musician, professional athlete or a secret agent. Then they tend to become more interested in a profession that is going to make them a lot of money, like a doctor, nurse, veterinarian, lawyer or an architect.
It’s not very common that you meet a child that knows exactly what they want to be when they grow up and even more of a rare occurrence that they actually are able to achieve that dream. This could be for a multitude of reasons. Things did not line up in this person’s life where they were given the chance to make their dreams come true, whether it might be lack of finances for furthering their education, family situations, or other life altering experiences and challenges.
In some cases, maybe they were able to make it in that field that they always dreamed of but later found out that dream wasn’t what they expected or hoped for and moved on to try something else.
In my case, I did not necessarily know what I wanted to be, but I knew what I wanted to do.
I worked hard through high school and was able to earn a scholarship to attend a university, so that I could make that dream happen. Even though I experienced a multitude of setbacks, I never gave up on that dream.
That dream? Writing.
That was it for me. I did not know in what way I wanted to share my passion with the world, but I knew I was going to be writing in some form or fashion.
In elementary school, I wrote short stories for fun. In high school, I wrote a variety of children’s books and unlike most of my peers, looked forward to that 5-page book report. In college, I wrote for our school’s newspaper.
As I sit here now, writing my weekly column, I cannot help but to look back and reminisce on how I got here.
There were times when I was a single mom that I absolutely could not afford to write. I had to take a job that would pay the bills, even though I hated going to work every day, I did what I had to do until I just could not do it anymore.
One day, as I was getting ready to go to that 8-5 well-paying job, I looked at myself in the mirror, then I looked inward, and I asked myself if this was really what I wanted to do. Did I want to continue down this road and keep passing up any and every opportunity I may ever have at making my dreams come true?
That very same day as I was walking into work, I received a notification that my local newspaper was hiring. It was not a writing position, but it was at a newspaper. I just knew this was God’s way of getting my foot in the door. I began in advertising, and I stayed there until a reporter position opened up. When it did, you better believe I was the first one knocking on my boss’ door. I worked grueling hours and weekends. At one point, I worked three jobs just so I could afford to write.
Now, I find myself blessed enough to be able to do what I love every day. Reporting newsworthy stories, giving others an opportunity to share their life stories and accomplishments, making connections, meeting new people, and sharing my heart with each of you every week.
I now know, the saying is true; if you are doing something you love, you will never work a day in your life.
I don’t expect my girls to go through their childhoods knowing exactly what they want to be when they grow up. The only thing I expect is that whatever they do decide on, that it is something they are passionate about and something that adds value to their life and to the lives around them.
(Paige Nash is a mom and digital journalist for Webster Parish Journal.)
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