Next term my 4 year old will be looking at the subject "what I want to be when I grow up" in his reception class at school.
It's something that my son has never spoken to me about. He pretends he's a spaceman, a dinosaur hunter, a doctor; but he's never actually stated that they are actual jobs he would like to do when he grows up. He's no stranger to the idea of working. He knows his Daddy is a 'teacher' and he knows that Mummy works with 'people who have poorly minds,' but he's never expressed any ideas of what he would like to do.
This doesn't bother me. He's 4. Life to him is endless playing. He doesn't have to concern himself with the fact that one day he will grow up and pursue a career. If only we could be children forever!
I remember being his age. I also remember being asked the same question at school when I was 7. I wanted to be a 'novelist' and did a cute little speech about it in front of the class. At 10 I wanted to be a journalist. This progressed to 'weather girl' when I was 11. At 15 I wanted to be a singer (the next Spice Girl to be precise), and at 16 I went to performing arts college to pursue that dream. The dream ended abruptly at 18 when I went to work as a blue coat and realised that I really wasn't cut out for a plastered on smile and 3 inches of make up.
I worked with adults with learning disabilities at aged 19 and decided I wanted to own my own company that supported adults with disabilities in the community. At 21 I changed my mind and wanted to be a psychologist. I went to university, got a degree, and now at the age of 31 I am a Mummy, mental health worker, breastfeeding peer support worker and a blogger. If you ask me what I want to be when I grow up, I could honestly say to you that I don't know. Although I like my life I can't tell you that the career I've chosen will be the career I will want for the rest of my life. I know what my passions and interests are, but there are a multitude of things I would like to do and I still often find myself in conflict of what I want to do next. I'm still not settled. Maybe I never will be.
As the subject has never come up with my son I decided to ask him.
"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
"You like Buzz Lightyear, would you like to be a Spaceman?"
"What about dinosaurs? It would be really cool to find out about dinosaurs and stuff as a job wouldn't it?"
"Would you like to do that when you grow up?"
"You could be a Nurse like Nana? Or a Fireman like Grandad? Or do the same kind of thing that Mummy or Daddy does?"
"So what do you want to be then?"
"I don't know"
And that is probably one of the most sensible answers that any reception kid will come out with. Because after 31 years I have only just realised that I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. THIRTY ONE YEARS!! And my child is already there. He's aware that he doesn't know what he wants to be. He knows that fine.
I'm kind of envious. Envious that my son has it all sussed. Whilst I live in constant turmoil about what I want to do or achieve, my kid is just happy to plod along with life and not worry about it.
I want to be like that.
And that's why I won't ask him again. He'll discover his own passions and interests and eventually they will lead him on his own path.
Or maybe he won't?
But for the minute he is still a baby. He has adventures, friendships and broken hearts ahead of him. I'm going to savour every single minute that I can and I'll be proud of him no matter what. And we'll worry about all the other stuff when it happens!