When you were 5 years-old, what did you want to be when you grow up?
And what are you doing for a living right now?
The answers to both questions are usually (very) different; however, in some cases, they have a common ground.
When I was 5 years-old, I wanted to be one of three things: a doctor, a singer, or a writer. Here’s what I ended up doing:
- At 23, I majored in Clinical and Health Psychology;
- At 25, I started working in HR and writing about it;
- At 27, I started studying music and working on my first fictional story.
I’m definitely not at the point the 5-year-old me thought I would be by now. I’m sure this has a lot to do with social expectations, too.
But then again, dreaming about who I wanted to be kept changing throughout my childhood and teenage years. There was even a time when I binge-watched Criminal Minds, and wished to be a profiler like Dr. Reid!
However, thoughout all of these changes, a few aspects prevailed:
- Guiding others through their purpose in life;
- Identity and self-expression.
It feels good realising that those 4 aspects are the pillars of what I’m doing — or studying for — at the moment. HR involves everyday communication, and recruitment is deeply rooted into understanding another’s motivations and purposes. Writing and singing are also deeply rooted in creativity and self-expression.
It’s interesting to look back and realize how I sacrificed those characteristics throughout the years, for different reasons — either because it didn’t fit the expectations others had for me, or because entering the job market had little to do with such aspects.
Until very recently, I thought I had betrayed my genuine hopes and dreams for who I wanted to be, or what I truly wanted to do. After all, I’m already 27 years-old, and the clock keeps ticking. I feel the need to maintain a stable job that I can identify with (for financial and career-fulfilling purposes), to prepare myself to have my own family in the future, and to spend my free time escaping the hardest aspects of my own reality (through books or videogames).
Nevertheless, I proved myself wrong in 2021: I moved cities, accepted a new career opportunity, and enrolled into a music course. We are not too old to hit that restart button and create a change of scenary — whether it’s personal or career-related. It’s never too late to go back to our roots, figuring out what our 5-year-old self really wanted, and embrace it.
Once you realize this and actually understand what you need to be doing with your time, any change will be well-thought, precious, and it will make perfect sense.
You don’t have to wait for another New Year’s Eve to write new resolutions, or to make a big life change. Start by thinking through your ideals, and what you already know to be your skills.
And listen to the 5 year-old you!