Friday, December 11, 2009


Then “What do you want to be when you grow up?” questions began in kindergarten. Seems a bit early; to me; nonetheless, I declared I’d own a pizza shop AND a donut shop. (In my All about Ashley book, I also depicted my sister Tara lazing about on her bed, singing “Heigh-ho, hiegh-ho” while I cleaned furiously. I h ad very high expectations of a four-year-old’s ability to clean, apparently.)

In second grade, I was Student of the Month (Have I told you about my people-pleasing complex? It began by being a hardcore Teacher’s Pet.). The Student of the Month gig came with a questionnaire with important second grade questions. Along with sharing that mac and cheese was my favorite food and pink was my favorite color, I revealed I hoped to be a journalist or author.

The end of high school came with an increased emphasis on that Future Question, which I was adept at side-stepping. I was good at the school thing and my lack of Serious Career Plans didn’t worry anyone. Psychology was interesting and I adored children, so I entertained the idea of being a child psychologist. This soon abated when I learned it would take more than four years and realized I couldn’t handle working with emotional traumatized children.

College was four years of confusion about my major. I was going to school to become an elementary school teacher, but ended up changing my major a year before graduating. I decided I'd ideally like to teach high schoolers about social justice, human rights, and service. And take them on service trips.

I noticed during my first job that my favorite part of it was designing fliers and brochures (The adorable children were a close second). My years spent hunched over Adobe design programs for the high school newspaper and yearbook came rushing back.

While I volunteered with AmeriCorps for two years, I dabbled with that whole design thing. I took a class. I took another class. I got fancy design programs. I designed things for my own Etsy shop and website, and then began designing for others. I designed wedding invitations, websites, Etsy shop banners, and note cards.

This summer I got my first job with a salary above poverty wages (!). I’m doing what I dreamed I’d do when I changed my major three years ago. I love my job. I really do. I am overwhelmed at times, but I am so lucky to have a job that is so utterly fabulous. (I have the best job in the school. At the best school ever. Don’t tell anyone.) It is a perfect fit.

Part of me feels pulled by the freelancing, crafting, and self-employed visions I had for myself. The freedom, the independence, the creativity, and the entrepreneurialism of it all makes my soul happy. I love being in charge of every single step of the process of designing and creating. Another part of me so enjoys what I do and having a steady paycheck, that I don't feel like I'm settling by working here.

With all of this swirling around in my brain, and last week, I heard a speaker that compared our life journey to a GPS unit. (I love my GPS, so I perked up at that.)
“Our life is forever ‘recalculating,' just like our GPS. We might think we are going in one direction, then we miss a turn and are recalculated to another path.”
I love that image - and the freedom to change our path at any time. We might start out to do one thing, but find ourselves enjoying something else. Instead of feeling like I need to stay committed to one idea of what Grown Up Ashley will do for a living, I can embrace a fluid, changing vision of my future.

Not that I wouldn't love owning both a pizza shop and donut shop. I was on to something, even as a 5-year-old.


Post a Comment

C'mon, leave a comment. They're the best part!