We used to have a high school girl come into the office at my day job to help out. She would come in a couple of afternoons a week to do filing and photocopying and all the un-fun stuff. She was incredibly shy and completely terrified on her first day, poor thing. I like to think we helped her find her feet and gave her courage to face the big wild world by the time she left us to go to university.
Despite being terrified, she managed to talk to us and over first few weeks she was there, she let us in enough to find out she wanted to be a doctor.
While her friends were reading magazines like Dolly, Cleo and Cosmo; she was reading New Scientist.
While other girls were out shopping for clothes; she was at home doing homework and reading books.
Now, a few years later, she is at university. Yes, she is studying to be a doctor. And she is loving every second of it.
I wonder what that would be like.
Just knowing. Knowing what you want to be when you grow up when you are 5. To be fearless enough to follow through and become what you’ve always wanted to be. The boys that play with trains and cars and planes. Who grow up to be conductors and race car drivers and pilots. Girls who make handkerchief clothes and cut the hair off their Barbie dolls. Who grow up to be fashion designers and hairdressers. Of course, girls can be race car drivers and boys can be hair dressers, but you see where I’m going here.
Because some of us do know what we want to be when we grow up.
But we don’t have the courage to become who we are meant to be.
Because other people tell us we can’t. And because we tell ourselves we can’t. Because we think we aren’t as talented as others kids in our class who want to be the same thing. Because we have no idea how to become that thing you want to become. Because people tell you that you aren’t good enough. Smart enough. Enough. And for some stupid reason, we believe them.
And often we think we’ve missed our chance, our window if we aren’t what we are meant to be by the time we are 27. But becoming who you are meant to be – a business woman, an artist, your true self – doesn’t have to happen by the time your age clicks over to the big 3-0.
Eventually you wake up to yourself. And you realize what other people think doesn’t matter.
Other people don’t get to tell you that you can’t.
You have this tsunami hit you. You can’t keep doing That Day Job. You can’t have your soul sucked for one minute more. And so, you get determined. You get fierce.
And that gives you the fire to push away all the crap you had in your head whispering “you can’t”.
My favourite movie as a kid was The Goonies. I must have watched that movie over 200 times. And that was with my Mum doing an hour round trip to the closest video store each week to hire it out until she finally said if she was driving all that way, I had to hire out something else. Still not sure why she didn’t just buy it for me and save herself all that time and petrol.
One of the most quoted of quotes from The Goonies is this:
It’s our time. It’s our time now.
So no matter if you are 17 and ready to burst out of the gates of high school or you are like me and fighting off a ‘mid life major re-assessment’, remember this…
It’s your time. It’s your time now.
No more waiting. No more can’t.
So… what do you want to be when you grown up?