Growing up, we change what we want to “be,” sometimes on a daily basis. I definitely was on the veterinarian track from about three to maybe eight-years-old. I would line up my stuffed animals, and stick them with one of those little plastic pop-up turkey timers. I realized quickly though, that pets actually hate going to the vet, so I changed my mind on that one.
The next desirable career option for most girls was to be a teacher, or a nurse, or maybe even just a princess at that point. But what I wanted to do next never really escaped me. I fell in love with magazines. At the age of about 12, I decided I wanted to work at Condé Nast and write for their magazines. I was intrigued about learning of the different magazines that they owned (Allure, Architectural Digest, Bon Appétit, Brides, Condé Nast Traveler, GQ, Vogue, Golf World, etc etc…) and found myself looking for ways to differentiate them from their mega-brand rival, Hearst (Cosmopolitan, Country Living, Elle, Esquire, Seventeen, etc).
Before I was even in college, I used to sit on the Condé Nast website and read through job descriptions. I’d picture myself there, in their chic New York City office. I bought a new magazine every week, yet never threw any away. I’d go back to old magazines and reread them. I’d compare articles between magazines. I’d wonder how many times they could write the same thing over and over without anyone noticing (I noticed). I’d read the small print in the front of the magazines, where the names are of people who work there. I’d read what their title is, and wonder how they got there. I had hundreds of magazine piled up on my floor. I loved each of them. Before it was time to eventually recycle some, I’d go through them once more and cut out pieces that I couldn’t get rid of. I’d paste them onto a board that I called my dream board. My whole dream board was filled with Condé Nast dreams.
Reality set it, one day that I don’t remember. Print is dead, they said, and it broke my heart. When I got older, I realized that it wasn’t practical to want to work at a company whose medium is on a steady decline…. And not for nothing, but New York City is not for me. And then “The Devil Wears Prada” came out and made that lifestyle look pretty miserable. Eventually, I threw away all of my magazines, and my Condé Nast dream.
But it really was a dream that never escaped me. I was recently scrolling through Twitter, and saw some news about a new product Condé Nast is using, and found myself deep into the article just a few minutes later. While I still have reality in my hands, hearing about Condé Nast still sets off a little spark in me.
When I got to college, I decided that I didn’t know what I wanted to be. There were so many options, how was I to choose? For all of my class projects, I still chose to focus many of them on Condé Nast, yet, I had closed the door on my own dream. Being in my […late…] 20s now, I’m not done deciding what I want to be when I grow up. I feel that a lot of us find a job, and let it mold us, however it works out (and there is nothing wrong with that!). But, I don’t want to be on autopilot through life. I want to be the one choosing my path.
Do you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up? Do you still have something you want to be when you grow up? Really, it is something that only you know, and that only you can take the time to figure out.
I sometimes still wonder if I should follow the dream that 12-year-old me had sitting on my pink-carpeted floor in Cumberland, Rhode Island, flipping through magazines for hours. There has to be a reason why some things set a spark in us.
I feel that right now, no matter where you’re at in life, is the time to aggressively discover what you seek in terms of your career, family, friends, and all of the things that, in the end, will allow you to look back at your life and know you fulfilled yourself and lived purposefully. I suppose I have followed part of my path, since I do write for my career. A storyteller, is what I like to call it. But my story line is still a work in progress.