So many of us in our upbringing were asked “Who do you want to be when you grow up?” Some of us had a fantastic, and sometimes humorous answer: “An Astronaut!” “A Doctor!” or even “A lollipop!” Other times, our childhood might have had so much going on that thinking about that was not option, and so the response would be “I don’t know.” And as we get a little bit older, for some of us, it doesn’t always get easier to answer that question.
I would propose this idea: what if that was the wrong question all along? What if that question was way too limiting, even with the wild imaginations we as children could come up with? What if, instead we asked this, “Who do you want to be?” What if the question would be less about what you wanted be when you grow up and more about when you are in your old age, what type of legacy would you like to leave behind?
I know, it’s a bit scary to work backwards knowing that we don’t have the answers to how we get there. What is useful about asking this is that this forces us to continue imagining the type people we either had never seen, or the type of people we would have wanted in our lives. This way, we become more inclined to find a reason to push forward and carry out our purpose.
I found purpose in not speaking as much in the days of my youth so that I may use my voice through writing to help other people. I know of others who saw flaws in the foster care system, and decided to be the exact role model of the person who failed in that, whether it was becoming a lawyer, a social worker, or a business owner.
Even so, it is important to not let negative situations define us, but empower us to be the change we wish to see in the world. As we get older and hopefully surround ourselves with positive influences, we can began to see the world around us as an oyster and really make something beautiful and healing things out of it. After all, the road you have travelled might be similar to others, but only you have your unique story and your unique fingerprint. The world needs you and the hands you were gifted with to not just be a mover and a shaker, but be a maker of a legacy you want future kids to gracefully glow in.
So this fall season, I ask you, what is your reason to do all things you dream of doing? It’s okay to not know (really that’s normal and completely fine!), but I encourage you in whatever way you can find inspiration, and in whatever you see injustices that erk you, let that be a your motivator and your reason to make this world a better place!