What did you wanna be when you grew up?

I really wanted to be Cher when I grew up.  Then as I got a little older and more mature I realized  I could never be Cher.  So I refined my plans and decided I’d be Cheryl Ladd instead.

In highschool I started to lean towards something in fashion.  In university it was a lawyer.  Then I started to lean towards acting.  Acting turned into me becoming a television host, television hosting turned into writing, and hosting and writing finally morphed into me being a blogger.

If I had been smart I’d  have just looked at my Grade 3 or 4 report card and see what my teachers comments were.  Around that age is when we’re showing our true potential.  What we actually like and have an aptitude for.  Any later than that and we start to say we want to be be what we think we should be.  Things we think make us successful.   Lawyer, Plumber, Doctor, Fireman.

My teacher’s comments in grades 3 and 4 by the way?  They said I was an entertainer.  See?  I could have saved the money on the Law School Prep book and put it towards something that would further my career as an entertainer.  Like writing courses. Or a puppet theatre.  Or clown nose.

So as it turns out when I wanted to be Cher when I was a kid, I wasn’t far off.

When you boil it down, I wanted to be an entertainer (albeit with long black hair and of native heritage wearing sparkly pants with a feather headdress) and I ended up being, an entertainer.  Who sometimes wears a chicken on her head.

So now I’m wildly curious to ask you …

What did you want to be when you grew up?  And what did you end up being?

I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to hear the answers to one of my questions. This may be my best comment section yet.

Go!  (and have a good weekend)

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203 Comments

  1. Kaery says:

    I wanted to be a real singer/actress. Like Olivia Newton John. Minus the movie “Two of a Kind.”

    Now I’m a professional tree hugger, ahem, Environmental Biologist. But I’m good at that, too.

    And if we’re being honest, it’s probably a leetle more steady than the acting gig.

  2. Erin says:

    I wanted to be…Hank Williams Jr. When I was little, his music was just, in my opinion, awesome ;]] I ended up in Hospitality… ;]

  3. Well, this explains a lot. I’m going to go back and research the comments from my elementary school teachers and see what I SHOULD have been. Kind of a moot point since I’m now retired from 23 years in the military…in the administrative field. This was determined by an aptitude test when I was 19. The proctor said, “Cindy, your scores are very high. You can be a doctor or a lawyer. What you will not be good at is secretarial work. Your manual dexterity is not that great.” Well, I showed him…I became a secretary! Forget that doctor or lawyer stuff.

  4. gloria says:

    Karen, your grade school theory is right on the money. I remember one teacher in elementary school who, when she needed to leave the room for a while, would have me stand up in front of the class and tell stories. These tall tales were always purported by me to be the absolute truth. And so began my lifelong career as a big fat liar. This same insightful teacher wrote on a report card that I should be a writer. And I did. But along with all the big fat lies, there has always been music. So now, I also stand up in front of people and sing.

  5. Katlyn says:

    When I was little I wanted to be an artist or a botanist, or maybe do something with animals. I grew up to be a potter (who also enjoys other art forms) and an aspiring farmer. I’ve been helping my parents garden for as long as I can remember and I’ve started raising animals. I guess I followed my childhood dreams.

  6. Susan says:

    I always wanted to be a teacher. But alas got pregnant and ended up bring a baby machine to 4 kids. Necessity made me be a number of things from creative sewing, teaching quilting, cooking, teaching cooking, Real Estate saleswoman but always a mother! Those were the paid jobs. My children and their friends always ate well and wore good clothes! And because I taught them how to learn and save a buck they all turned out successful and smart with great careers and families. Now I’m a baker, own my own bakery and a mother hen to 13 employees and am constantly teaching them some way to make it better! So I guess I got to be what I always wanted to be! ….without the retirement and pension! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Delvalle says:

    When I was 12 I wanted to be transport truck driver. I was about 4ft. tall and weighed almost 90 lbs. I loved the shocked look on peoples faces when I told them, so I kept on saying it. Today I am an artist (sculptor potter).

  8. Sarah says:

    As a little girl I wanted desperately to be a veterinarian (didn’t every girl, at some point?). It never occurred to me that it was not always petting puppies and kittens, then I worked administration at a vet office years later and nearly DIED from queasiness when I was aiding in a surgery once! I took a slight detour, focused on helping AND science and am now working as a Registered Massage Therapist and I love it. Had you told me when I was little that I would be doing this, I would have wondered what the heck a massage therapist is…

  9. Jody says:

    I wanted to be lots of different things–a nun but my mother reminded me we weren’t catholic. So I became a nurse. Similar uniforms I suppose.

  10. Beth says:

    As an 8 year old white girl, I wanted to be the bass singer in a do-wop band. No jokes. My parents either didn’t know, or just didn’t comment, because I have no memory of them squashing that dream.

    In high school I wanted to be a massage therapist, but then I thought about the possibility of one of my skinny elbows getting lost in a fold of someone’s fat and I gave that dream up.

    In University I wanted to be a high school gym teacher, head of sex ed… but then I gave that up after realizing that I couldn’t stand to sit through one more lecture after my undergrad, let alone run around a gym for the rest of my life.

    Now I work for the government and love that the 8:30-4:30 allows me to be a do-wop singer, carpenter, massage therapist, dog trainer, whatever…. in my spare time

  11. Susan says:

    I still haven’t decided what I want to be when I grow up. Since this is the year the government starts paying me for being old, I figure there’s no pressure; I’ll have time to decide once I’m retired.

    • Irene says:

      Sue, you took the words right out of my mouth. I too, have yet to decide what I want to be when I grow up. Meanwhile, life happens… ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Beckie says:

    I wanted to be a ballerina

    I am a bookkeeper by day and a jewelry maker by night

    I don’t think either of those things worked into my 9/10 year old way of thinking lol

  13. Slackerjo says:

    I was not the brightest child and apparently not a very ambitious one as I wanted to be a cashier. I thought the cashier got to keep all the money in the cash register. I really wondered why EVERYBODY did not aspire to be a cashier. Then one day my brother Mike educated me on the roles of a cashier and the bubble was burst.

    • Karen says:

      Funny … I’ve always thought I’d like to be a grocery store cashier. Not too much stress, talk to people, look at food all day. I always use the self check out line at the grocery store when I can. ~ karen!

      • Isis says:

        no. you really don’t want to do this! it is the most depressing, exhausting, dumb-ifying job possible. i swear a part of my brain died after a stint as a checkout chick.

  14. Teresa V. says:

    You’re SO entertaining. The photo of Cher reminded me of a Cher look-a-like contest I entered when I was a young girl. I can’t believe that my mom went along with it. So I wanted to be a singer/entertainer, but I lacked commitment. So I dabbled with a few local singing contests with my sister doing harmony & playing the piano. Now…I’m an Administrative Assistant and a closet singer. Oh, and my hair is short now.

  15. Jeff Walker says:

    I always wanted to be a photographer, and because my parents thought I could never make a living taking pictures, I studied and got a degree in chemistry. I became a commercial photographer anyway which lead me to graphic design, which lead me to my job today which is in advertising. It’s interesting to look back and connect the dots.

  16. Diana says:

    Hi Karen,
    as a Kid I saw a movie about a window dresser whose Mannequin was alive in the night…
    That was the moment, I wanted to be a window dresser.
    Well I am. But I`m working in a furniturestore now and not in a displaywindow.
    You can not emagine how hot and cold it is in such a window… and one advice…. the windowdresser hears everything from outside!

  17. Tris says:

    Oh…I really really really wanted to be Toni from Captain and Tennille! I even had the haircut…that modified bowl jobbie look. In 8th grade, our choir teacher told us that no one in the room was a budding Karen Carpenter. Talk about preteen angst. I was going to show him! Several aptitude tests in high school suggested I was suited to teaching or something in the arts. Talk about outrage! I was NOT going to be some artsy fartsy teacher. Well, turns out I that I became a preschool teacher who did singing gigs on the weekend with local 70’s cover bands. So I guess it turns out that everything was wrapped up in one neat little package. I am happy with how my life turned out and wouldn’t change a minute of it, bowl haircut and all.

  18. Deborah says:

    I always wanted to be a Marine Biologist…watching Flipper in the 60’s and the setting in Hawaii is what inspired it. Grade 9 came along and we had to dissect a frog…I realized I wasn’t *cut out* to cut into anything, especially beautiful sea mammals…sooooo…after a stint of a stay at home mom raising 2 kids, 20 yrs later I am now a Realtor, with a wide range of other side jobs/interests…sewing junkie, knit-a-holic, vegetable grower/gardener and wanna-be-on-Chopped-Chef-in-Training… ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Bonnie says:

    I wanted to be a teacher, but realized I do not like kids, nor possess the confidence to work with teens. Instead took an operations job at a bank. However one of the tasks I get to enjoy is I mentor co workers, and have also been able to head conversions and train people- grownups- on new systems.

  20. Tara says:

    When I was a very little kid I wanted to be an astronaut but then I was told it was a lot of work so I threw that idea right out the window and then I wanted to be a ‘starving artist’ and be famous for all my paintings.

    Well – I didn’t realize my ‘art’ would be making Wool Dryer Balls for thousands of people all day, every day but I’m pretty darn good at it and they make the world an eco-friendlier place so I’m happy as all get out!

  21. Farquist says:

    Highland Dancer, but I kept hitting my hands on the basement ceiling when I practiced and man do you ever get out of breath when you jump up and down like that! Not sure it would have paid very well.
    I ended up being a junior high band teacher for 30 years and loved it. Where’s my medal people?
    Retirement is pretty sweet.

  22. Erica Filpi says:

    I wanted to be a witch. Years later that is my religion (a bit disappointed that I can’t wiggle my nose to clean my room), and I am going to school to be a teacher.

  23. Gina says:

    I wanted to be a doctor and was told that women didn’t go to medical school.(Late 50’s/early 60’s: nurse, teacher, social worker, mom; choose!) I became a school psychologist…..and then in my early 30’s went back to school to become a Physician Assistant, which for me was like the fun parts of being an MD without some of the hassles (or the paycheck) and did that happily for 25 years…..

    • Nancy Blue Moon says:

      I feel for you Gina..I was basically told the same thing way back then..I told my Mother that I wanted to go to college and she said “Girls don’t go to college..girls get married and have babies”..When I told this to my young nieces in college they were shocked..I want them to know how lucky they are today..I wanted to be a Vet..my last job was working for the state taking care of mentally challenged people..Until I was hurt by one of them..Oh yeah..I did go to college..when I was forty..yep..better late than never..

    • Michelle says:

      Gina,

      I think it’s very admirable that despite being told you couldn’t go to medical school you ended up going back to school and becoming a PA . Way to go!

  24. Heather says:

    My family thought I would be a geologist when I was very small because of my obsession with rocks and minerals. I don’t remember wanting to be anything in 3rd grade but loved ancient history and then about 12 decided I wanted to be an archeologist–a female Indiana Jones to be precise. After reading James Herriot’s books I wanted to be a vet. I ended up being a hospital lab tech out of convenience for 10+ yrs but changed careers to teaching high school biology–which I love!! I will just be Indiana Jones when I retire…..gives me time to get good with a whip. It is amazing where life brings us =) and you are def onto something with the 3rd/4th thing. We need to work in jobs that we are suited for & love!

    • Deb J. says:

      I think you need to work on the whip thing! Imagine the respect you would get as a high school teacher. I know the administration would frown on it but …. Always thought it would be an invaluable teacher skill:)

  25. J9 says:

    I wanted to be a ballerina, until one unfortunate day I peed in my leotard and then that dream was shattered. Then I wanted to be a teacher. Now, I am a nursing student. Le sigh…

  26. Elise @ This Little House says:

    I wanted to be a poet!!!
    Not sure there’s a big market for poets….

  27. Magpie says:

    A professional daydreamer, according to every elementary school report commentary and favourite hobby. Instead I became a Cartographer, which has good daydreaming potential most days.

  28. Miia says:

    Florist, Medical doctor (but even at an early age I “knew” I couldn’t since I make mistakes and doctors can’t make mistakes), Hairdresser, Scientist, Webdesigner…

  29. JBB says:

    I was a contrary sort of kid. I didn’t like playing into the answers teachers wanted me to give. I knew that I had no idea what I’d become when I was grown, and that everyone saying they’d be an astronaut, or president, or whatever, most were sadly mistaken. They weren’t picking reasonable goals at all.

    I was much more pragmatic. When they asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I’d say without hesitation, “Older.”

    Nowadays I’m rethinking that answer. Which is ironic, isn’t it.

  30. Jackie says:

    I wanted to be an artist, and then specifically an animator for Disney, for most of my early school years. In college, that morphed into a computer animator, and then from that I thought I might want to go into freelance illustration. For 12 summers though, starting in high school and then through college and beyond, I taught summer art classes for kids, which wound up helping me decide to go back to school for my art education degree. Now I teach high school art.

    Which is funny, because for most of my school years, friends and teachers told me I should be an art teacher.

  31. Barb says:

    Typo: “not” encouraged by others in the field.

  32. Barb says:

    I wanted to be a doctor in Africa. That idea came about after reading any book about Dr Albert Schweitzer and Dr. Tom Dooley. But math was also my downfall. And also the fact that in my era (God I’m sounding old) women supposedly only had a choice of secretary, nurse or teacher. I ended up as a teacher and then teaching adults in the medical field. Came in through the back door after stints as a postmistress, ski instructor, elementary school teacher, ski shop owner, librarian, and commercial fisherman! The long way around but glad of each of those experiences in life. Retired now after 35 years in the medical field. I did get to Africa, one year, after a particularly good fishing season when I tired of being a ski bum in the winter. Considered becoming a professional mariner at one point but there were few women doing that in those days and I was encouraged by others in the field. But an interesting life anyways. Still spend as much time as possible in the mountains and on the water, although in a much smaller boat. For my 65th birthday I organized a two week paddling (kayak) expedition to a remote group of islands near the North West coast of Canada. The trip was a blast and I’d like to do that again. So much to do, so little time. Enjoy every minute, and if you don’t like what you’re doing, change!

    • Nicola Cunha says:

      Wow, what a great life you’ve had so far! My friends inspire me to do the same – try as many things as I’m interested in. You’re inspiring!

  33. Amie Mason says:

    I have a book that I wrote in when I was six. Sadly it said I wanted to be a waitress! (Apparently the six year old in me didn’t aim very high). I did actually become a waitress at one point whilst studying. I’m a business owner & designer and a freshly minted blogger now! ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. Nancy w says:

    I didn’t really have the thought or intention in my head when I was growing up, but when I was 4 I tried to make a pair of shorts for my dad…I became a clothing designer after stumbling onto fashion school. Also growing up I would always make little things then go around the neighborhood trying to sell them…I now do felting and take it to shows to sell…I still want to be Cher, sometimes!

  35. Lea Studebaker says:

    I wanted to be a veterinarian as a child. I didn’t follow through with it as part of the job is euthanasia which I didn’t have the stomach/ heart for. Now I’m a real estate appraiser for which the only thing I kill is homeowners grand illusions about what they think their home is worth.

  36. Leena says:

    I remember that when I was really small I wanted to be a mom, then I realized it’s not a profession. Later I wanted to be a pilot, then a motorcycle police officer, at one point I was interested in architecture. Then I wanted to be doctor, but I realized that I do not really like people ๐Ÿ™‚
    Now I’m an engineer and I love it. I really do.

  37. White says:

    I just never had any clear idea what I wanted to be, and that’s how it played out…

  38. Lucy says:

    When I was 3, I wanted to be 4; when I was 4, I wanted to be 5…. I think I wanted to be a cowgirl or gunfighter during those years, too. In the 8th grade my aptitude test showed I was suited for carpentry. I loved that idea, but how embarrassing for a girl back then! So college didn’t give me any answers after 4 years, so I traveled for a year, then settled into a career with a large city police department, seeing as I wasn’t “discovered” or even mildly mistaken for an actress or model during that time. I loved the work (see gunfighter above–ha), was able to work in many areas, and retired still loving my final job as a fingerprint analyst. Those nights working in the jail and kibitizing with the arrestees were actually fun (if you didn’t mind the occasional pee or puke or “felony feet”). What other job affords a free night of entertainment, a walk on the wilder side of life, jailhouse coffee, a chance to act and make up any story you want about yourself (hint: never tell an inmate the truth about any part of your life), and leave as a free person when your shift was over and that sliding glass jailhouse door opens and closes for you. I’m at the age now where I want to be 4 again….

    • Lucy says:

      This has been one of my all-time favorite posts, Karen. I just knew I had to come back and see what others had chosen as careers and life paths, often directed positively or negatively by teachers, parents or societal opinions. It’s too bad our educational systems and society channels impressionable kids instead of fostering some of the dreams they have. And, since I’m here, I forgot to add that looking at fingerprints is like going to an art gallery for me (without the entry fee and the exorbitant price tags). All of them are beautiful pieces of artwork. Not for everyone, I know, but I’m glad it’s not or the competition may have been way too stiff for the job. I’ll be back to read even more. It’s been a hoot!

  39. Kate says:

    I wanted to be an architect.
    Became a landscape architect.
    And now I just want to be Linda Crago.

  40. Laura says:

    As a child, a geologist. As a young adult, a tour manager (HECK no), and now? I’m an aspiring Amish farm maiden.

  41. Tanya says:

    You’re so right! I don’t know about 3rd/4th grade, but I found a list from Kindergarten that said I wanted to be a “Dancer, Singer, or Teacher.” I’m a high school English teacher with a background in Theatre and quite happy. NOT a business major like I originally signed up for in college. Blech.

  42. Raymonde says:

    How I understand you!
    As far back as I can remember, I wanted to act! I went to theatre school for 3 fun filled years, then I acted on stage and did a lot of voice overs.
    Now, as I get older, the available roles are dwindling, so I mostly do voice over work.
    But, I still have the secret desire to be in a rock&roll band… Who doesn’t? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Karen says:

      I love doing voice overs. All the pay of hossting without the need to be on a set for 18 hours.

      • Raymonde says:

        And now, thanks to technology, I do a lot of it from home, so most days I don’t even need to get dressed or wear make up!!!

        • Karen says:

          GASP! Now that’s something I’d like to hear more about. Do you have a system? A setup? A whirlygig? Also … I loved that sweater you knit that’s on your site. With cream coloured turtleneck with the wide sleeves. ~ karen!

        • Raymonde says:

          It’s really easy. All you need is a computer (a Mac in my case) a microphone, a pre-amp, a pair of earphones and recording software (garage band is easy to work with and works well). I use heavy drapes around my set-up and some foam behind the mike, to help the sound. I also use a free program called “Switch” to transform the recording into any file format the client wants.
          That’s all there is to it! ๐Ÿ™‚
          P.S: Thanks for the heads up on the cream coloured sweater!

  43. Christine says:

    I wanted to be a writer. Books, news, whatever. I think really I wanted to be Judy Blume. After years in restaurants and sales jobs, I finally went to school to get a masters in library science and I love it! Even if I’m not inspiring people with my own writing, I can share my passion for reading with them. I think I wanted to be a writer merely because I didn’t think you could read books for a living!

  44. Erin says:

    I wanted to be a teacher. And I am!

  45. Karen says:

    I wanted to be a doctor or, maybe my mother wanted me to be a doctor. It turned out I wasn’t good at math and could never have got into med school. But I loved information and became a librarian and, later, a public library director, for a very rewarding 35+ years. I still have the best search skills of anyone I know.

  46. Mariah says:

    First I wanted to be a roller derby girl, then Fred Astaire, then after seeing Drew Barrymore in E.T., I wanted to be an actress. I moved into writing in elementary school and segued over to filmmaking in high school and college. These days I work from home doing a niche aspect of film post production that actually utilizes my writing skills. I am happy with it, but as I get older, I get more and more pangs about working on other people’s films instead of making my own.

  47. michelle says:

    In the early days, I stood on the gold velvet ottoman, with my black hair brush mic, and sang my heart out. As a grown up with a career that included 7 years in broadcast radio, every oldie and “new mix” back up vocal is mine. I am your back up singer. I even have the moves. My hair brush mic is ready to go….

    Oh, and i wanted to be an alter boy/girl. but that was fleeting.

  48. Marti says:

    I wanted to be a television reporter. Hmmm, and guess what? I yam what I yam and always wanted to be. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Interesting observation about Grade 3 or 4.

    • Karen says:

      When I was in between hosting jobs, or thinking of quitting to go somewhere else my mother would always say … apply for the news to be a reporter. I had a *very* hard time convincing her a tv host/interviewer weren’t the same thing as a reporter. ~ karen!

      • Marti says:

        Yeah, I know about that. (Why do people think we’re all interchangeable, Karen? Why? WHY? WHY????) I had a line in a movie once. You’d think I’d be able to handle one line.. playing a flight attendant in a video in the movie.

        Definitely determined I am NOT an actor.

        There was also the cooking show audition. Haha. Nope. Couldn’t manage that one, either.

  49. I wanted to be a saint – my protestant mother went ballistic, and I didn’t understand why.
    I still want to be a saint.

    • LeeAnne says:

      Oh wow. I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a week – maybe two! Good one Tricia! I can just hear my Protestant Grandma having a canary with your mother!
      I hope you get to be a saint someday anyway!

      • LeeAnne says:

        Oh yeah, I wanted to be a jockey. Now I muck stalls for a living. Mucking is much safer if not as glamorous. My family thought working at the track would be too risky and awful. You should have seen their faces when I said “Well how about a truck driver instead?” – I wasn’t kidding. Ended up doing all sorts of stuff.

        Worked a a “spotter” on a sandblasting crew that was removing the paint from metal girders under the Gardener Express Way(Watched 4 sandblasters non-stop so I could relay their signals to compressor operator, construction work, worked in bars, was a pest control technician, even spent a summer digging on an archeology site. Had a short stint working on a crew that painted lines on roads. Oh yeah, studied machining but never managed to get into the field. I guess I ‘m a Jane of all trades.

  50. Rebecca says:

    I wanted to be an architect forever. Then I became one and hated it. Now I’m floundering after having kids.

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