What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

By Le’Shawn Turner

That was a question a colleague asked me one day about 3 months ago.  My colleague and I were talking about retirement.  He can retire in about 2 or 3 years. I told him that sounds wonderful and asked what he was going to do next. He told me his plans: relaxing, spending time with his wife, visiting his kids and grands, starting a new hobby. And then, he floored me with that question.  

I mean, honestly, I’m a whole grown up already! I’ve attained multiple degrees and experience to be where I am right now. But… am I doing what I dreamed of doing?  Am I where I wanted to be? I am in my mid-forties. Am I going through a midlife crisis? If so, does this mean I’m going to buy a sports car and marry a man half my age because I would completely be okay with that part. 

Growing up I wanted to be a little bit of everything. I wanted to be a doctor, a flight attendant, a psychologist, a lawyer, etc. As I got older and experienced new things, my dream job changed. At some point in time, I developed an interest in business. And all these years and all these degrees later I am working as a Reference Librarian at a law school.  And I’m happy… right?

I toiled about that question for weeks. I don’t know if my colleague realizes what he started with this question. I now must think about where I want to be in my life and career. The simple answer is no.  

I still want more. I still feel young enough to pursue more. And I’m okay with that! In my brief time on this Earth, I’ve learned that goals and dreams change. The more you live, the more you love, the more you lose, the more you learn, the more you grow. With all of that – change is normal. I am happy being a Reference Librarian, for right now. I’m happy with the number of degrees I’ve earned, for right now. I want to change a bit. I want to continue being a law librarian, but I want to see how many ways I can do that. I want to write more articles, stories, and books. I want to do more editing. I want to do more research projects. I want to continue to do presentations and teach classes. I want to do more reading for pleasure and for professional growth.  

Personally, I am enjoying watching my kids grow up. I love seeing them learn and progress. And I try to encourage them to do things that I didn’t do at their age, because I was shy or because I wasn’t afforded that opportunity. I enjoy traveling with my kids. I’m trying to take them to places that are new to all of us.  

So, what is the answer to the question? What do I want to be when I grow up? I’ll let you know when I get there. Right now, I’m still growing.  


Notes Between Us (NBU) is a blog about conversations and topics of interest to the writers. The writers are expressing their personal opinions solely. The essays represent their personal beliefs and not that of their workplaces or any organization they are associated with.