the Game of Life? My older brother and I played constantly, both of us longing to land on one of the squares at the beginning of the game that entitled us to a career as a lawyer or a doctor (and the $50,000 annual salary that went with it - I guess lawyers and doctors weren't making the big bucks back in the 80s). In the Game of Life - and probably in more lives in general a few decades ago - you steered your car along a predetermined course, collecting paychecks and children, all the way to retirement (at which point, if I recall correctly, you could trade in your kids for cash...but that's a topic for another post entirely).
Yesterday I read a version of a statistic that I'd seen before, but it surprised me nonetheless: according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average American worker will change careers 3-5 times during her lifetime. Not jobs. Not 9th grade social studies teacher at Franklin D. Roosevelt High, then 10th grade world history teacher at Oak Hill Regional, then 12th grade economics teacher at Shelburne Community. Careers. Teacher. Then Astrophysicist. Then City Comptroller. (Okay, maybe not exactly, but you get the picture.)
As a kid, like my persona in the Game of Life, I often defaulted to the idea of being a lawyer. All of my dad's siblings were lawyers. They liked to talk. I liked to talk. I also liked the idea of making $50,000 a year and wearing suits to work. I liked the show L.A. Law. But in college I passed that torch off to many (most?) of my friends who headed off to law school after graduation while I headed instead to a different sort of classroom - one in which I'd be a teacher instead of a student. That's where I went and that's where I stayed until Big Boy was born. A few different jobs, but the same career.
And now I'm 32. I've had one career so far. I liked it. I even loved it sometimes. But right now I don't see myself going back to it. And, according to the Labor Department, I need at least two more careers to qualify as average. So I have to ask myself: What do I want to do when I grow up?
And you know what? I have no idea. No clue what I want to do next.
Right now I'm a mother. And that certainly takes a lot of doing. But what else do I want to do? Well, I want to read the stack of books that's been sitting on my bedside table since last Christmas. I want to wake up one morning to something other than the sound of a baby crying. I want to go back to Paris - with Husband, but without the wee ones. I want to get a massage. A long massage.
Actually, most of my want-to-do's have to do with states of being - how I've been in a different place in time, how I want to be - rather than what I want to do. And I realize that maybe the question that matters isn't, What do I want to do?, but rather, What do I want to be?
And what do I want to be? I want to be present. I want to be satisfied. I want to be fulfilled. I want to be heard. I want to be happy.
I still don't know what career space I want to land on in my own personal game of life. I still don't know how the doing can get me to the being. No, I still don't know what I want to do, but I'm getting closer to knowing what I want to be.
What do you want to do when you grow up? What do you want to be?