“Alright kids gather round. Today we are going to talk about what we want to be when we grow up”
What we want to be?
Is this where our incessant need to be labeled stems from? Is this what started the never-ending search to be defined, to be known, famous, or put into a pecking order?
It only just dawned on me that for a great chunk of our childhood we are constantly bombarded with this question of what we’re going to be when we grow up. Like we only have one choice, that can never change, and is easily labeled, defined, and categorized.
I’m very much a victim of this; I’m almost ashamed to say that a benefit of having a degree is that I can fall back on it should I ever need a quick definition of everything I am, do, and say (sarcastic much?).
I think everyone looks to be labeled as something or other: I’d love to be able to call myself a writer. I’d love it. But I’m not. I’m just someone who writes.
If this website was enough to give me that title, then I’d prefer to be called a fireman – after all, I do extinguish the fireplace before going to bed every night. I must be a fireman so.
Do labels really matter? Do they make any difference at all? Not really, and I think that rather than asking kids what they will be when they grow up, we should be asking them what they will do.
A washing machine will only ever be a washing machine. A sink only ever a sink. A washboard only ever a washboard. They will never be anything else. Yet, all three things are capable of doing the washing. They are all capable of achieving the same results.
We’ve been told for so long that we can only ever be one thing. Or at least that’s the way it comes across. You grow up, learn something, do it, and that’s your label. That’s who you are.
It makes it feel that to make a change to who we are and the habits we follow requires a total change of our entire existence. That we need to alter and adjust an entire life worth of growing and learning.
But if we look at who we are as the actions we take and what we do, real tangible change instantly becomes more accessible.