When I Grow Up

I seriously considered starting this with the lyrics to the 2009 song “When I Grow Up,” but I would like to believe that my readers are too highbrow to recognize that dated pop culture reference. The reason I used a somewhat childish phrase as a title is because I want to talk about the future. The one I envisioned at different stages of life, and the “future” that I ended up living.

Most people remember the careers they imagined they might someday have, and I am no exception. My career dreams have been the following: blacksmith → psychologist → event planner. Surprised that I once dreamed of becoming a blacksmith? Read this post, and it will all make sense.

For many years, I wanted to be a blacksmith or, more specifically, someone who trims horses’ hooves. I was enthralled by the process when the blacksmith came to work on my horse’s feet, and it made me want to do the same thing when I grew up. It turns out that I was merely drawn to the career of someone I looked up to because that dream faded as the years went on.

Following this, I entered a stage of uncertainty. I was in college by this point and didn’t know what I wanted to major in, let alone do for a career after graduation. I toyed with the idea of business, Spanish, and professional writing, but none of those options seemed to stick. (Especially the Spanish since my academic advisor acted like I had been sent from space to destroy the Spanish language single-handedly). Those purposeless feelings lasted for quite some time before I finally landed on psychology.

A friend suggested I look into it as a potential major, and I was soon captivated by the idea of being able to use my naturally over-analytical mind to help other people. I soon declared psychology as my major, and with every course I took, I fell more in love with the field of behavioral science. I saw this as a confirmation that I was meant to be in this area for life, but that didn’t turn out to be the case.

I won’t go into all the gory details, but long story short, I wasn’t able to land a graduate assistantship to help me pay my way through a master’s degree. I was initially devastated, but I soon realized that being a psychologist was not meant to be. (There’s a much longer explanation in this post).

After this unexpected change in plans, I had to take a step back to evaluate what I wanted to do with my life. Turns out, I didn’t have to look any further than my current job as an event planner. Once I knew that being a psychologist was out of the picture, I began to notice everything I enjoyed about my job planning events.

I love being able to take an idea, break it into a thousand tiny details, and then assemble them into the actual event. I have also been surprised to find that I put my years of psychology study to use by thinking through ways to craft the best experience for each attendee. And honestly, I love that I can be the person with a headset and clipboard telling people what to do.

So there you have it, my dreams versus reality. I find it fascinating to reflect on what I once envisioned for myself since I ended up somewhere far different than I’d ever planned. People often sense this because they’ll ask me if I will stick with event planning. I never know how best to respond since my past has taught me that our ambitions and goals can change unexpectedly.

So I’ll say this: event planning is the perfect job at this stage in my life. Will that change? Possibly, but that is alright with me since I know that some of my best moments are those that are entirely unplanned.

Let me know what you think!