What do you want to be when you grow up, sir?

I’m writing a travel website in Spanish right now, and it’s supposed to be funny. Which means I’m currently combining elements of my four biggest interests – comedy, writing, Spanish and travel – and I’m doing it for work. I’m starting to feel a bit guilty to be honest – how sad I am, to have tried to take a ten minute break instead of five minutes, my woefully inadequate way of “sticking it to the man” and all I did on my break was write notes on Spanish word play.

I work during my break… because it’s fun.

If that’s still true in 20 years I’ll feel successful, getting paid to do something I’d do for free, but I’m new to this so I still feel like a goody two-shoes.

I just turned 25, and people keep saying “a quarter of a century” to me. These people are mean. Perhaps these people don’t have brains that take them into philosophical overdrive at the drop of a hat, but all they’ve done is point out that the clock is ticking (and their intricate knowledge of numbers).

We have jobs, some of us even have career plans, but that still doesn’t actually answer the age-old question…what do you want to be when you grow up?

I’ve heard a lot of answers. Doctor. Lawyer. Film star. As a child, it’s like choosing your favourite colour. The answer doesn’t really matter, because you can change it tomorrow and no one will mind.

My sister’s answer was the best – she was about six when I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, and she answered “A cat”. I spent quite a long time explaining to her that she couldn’t be a cat.

Finally she caved and accepted, she couldn’t be a cat.

“So,” I started again, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” She thought long and hard, then her eyes lit up and she cried,
“A fairy!”
“Lyd, you can’t… OK, be a fairy. Good choice.”

If life were that simple I’d already be grown up and I’d be a slightly slimmer Ricky Gervais, but fortunately life is a complicated and rather entertaining mess.

It was this mess that led me to Farringdon, the financial area of London where everyone has a briefcase and an ulcer, only to be stood up for an hour and end up chatting to an investment banker. Obviously something about the way I was texting a friend about my shame at ordering a “creme brulee latte” gave him the impression I could brighten his day.

He told me about his life, about how he commutes every day from Norfolk at 4am, works 12, 15 hour days and commutes back. That essentially, he hates his life, but does everything with a view to the future, never the present. He also told me he is retiring this year, at the age of 42.

“And was it worth it?” he asked me, rhetorically, paused for a moment, then answered himself “Nah.”

That’s not what I want to be when I grow up.

Your job is not what you are – that’s a lexical confusion. “I’m a writer”, “I’m a doctor”, “I’m a comedian”, your job title in fact says very little about you. I think we can all agree that “politician” is not the best way to describe Hitler.

We all want money, we all want freedom and autonomy, a lot of us want to be respected and/or feared, but there are some wise philosophers out there, disguised as funny maniacs – also known as comedians, and in my opinion, their perspectives are probably the most valuable. Here’s what I want to be when I grow up:

“I love my job, it’s the greatest job in the world, for one very simple reason…I don’t have a boss” – Bill Hicks

Unrealistic, perhaps? Well if my sister can be a fairy…

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