Scene: When I Grow Up
Tiffany T. Huff-Strothers
Depending on the day, when I ask my boys what they want to be when they grow up I get a myriad of answers. Usually the list starts off with a football player (DUH), and is followed by a number of different professions...a cake decorator, a pizza maker, a fireman, a policeman, a pilot....just to name a few!
The only profession I can remember claiming as a little girl - and even through high school was an attorney. When I would play with my friends and cousins, we would play lawyers office, and when I got to high school I was in a Law Magnet Program. I even interned for a couple of summers for law firms through a program with The Allegheny County Bar Association. But....I am not an attorney at law, I did not earn a J.D.
I guess I changed my mind at some point.
After high school, I went to college and decided that I did not want to major in prelaw because I wanted to have a 'career' while I pursued my law degree something. I wanted to have something to fall back on if I changed my mind, (because changing my mind is what I often did). Then I graduated and went to graduate school. I went to graduate school because I had a scholarship and felt obligated to use it.
You don't earn law degrees in graduate school.
During graduate school, I worked what I refer to as 'jobs,' and others refer to as positions that could be the beginnings of budding careers, in government, higher education, the nonprofit sector, and banking. Not to toot my own horn, but I was good at all of the 'jobs'. I would work them for a couple of years, get promoted and then, inevitably get bored. Sooner than later, after a couple of years with each company I would decide, this wasn't what I wanted to be when I grew up...
So, I'd quit.
And because I had the favor of God on my side, I usually moved on to 'bigger and better' things.
At least that's how it seemed to those on the outside looking in.
I never spent much time thinking about me, or what I wanted, where my passion was, or what I was destined to do. In the back of my mind, I always knew there was something else for me, and yet I didn't feel like I wanted to pursue my lifelong dream of going to law school and becoming Tiffany T. Huff, Attorney at Law, not in the traditional sense. And so, I'd spend the time off being off, and then when I started running out of money or when I got bored, I'd start looking for another 'job' because, well grown ups with degrees get jobs. It was more or less there is a job opening I might like, I'm confident that I'll be good at it, so I will give it a try.
Just like that, I would change my mind AGAIN.
That said, I encourage my boys to pursue ALL of the jobs, professions, and hobbies that spark their interests. I know from my own experiences it is possible to be a football player, a cake decorator, a pizza maker, a fireman, a policeman, a pilot and many other things during the period of time it takes to 'grow up' because I myself have done more jobs than that, and I am STILL GROWING!
I would much rather my boys pursue their passions than anything else. Most recently, when I changed my mind, that is what I decided to do. Let me be honest, God did have to twist my arm a bit to convince me that my passion can and will feed me - both figuratively and literally if I will trust and allow it to.
The same is true for my boys, and it's true for you too.
It's never too late to be who or what you wanted to be when you were a little girl. There's no expiration date on dreams unless you leave this world never having pursued them. Life is too short to do the jobs, or pursue the careers that you are expected to, or even once thought were your goals and dreams, because as we grow, our goals and dreams are either attained, or change. While we often consider this the definition of defeat, the ability to change our dreams is actually what make our dreams beautiful.
What I have learned over the past decade or so is that there is nothing that I want to be more than ME, authentically me. To pursue a job or career (whatever you want to call it) that fuels my passions and is fulfilling.
The truth is, when you surrender to your truth and lead with God's purpose, you'll find that you're exactly who you dreamed to be - only you're the unique manifestation of the dream from God's perspective.
The thesaurus (one of my favorite books) says that synonyms for attorney include:
I'm the voice, advocate and representative for many women; some of whom I've never even met. Through my writing, speaking and coaching I'm often thought of or sought after for counsel.
Look at that, I'm an attorney after all!
One of the foundational pillars that I want the legacy in building to salt and on is authenticity. I want to be true to me and I want other single mothers to know that being authentic when you grow up is an awesome aspiration - whatever that looks like for you. It took me a long time to figure it out though, and it's a lesson I want my boys to learn sooner than later. I encourage their pursuit off all of their dreams, no matter how impossible the world makes them seem and I remind them constantly that they have the power to break down (or jump over) any barriers that appear to block the path.
The reminder is for you too.
So tell me, what do you want to be when you grow up?
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