Then and Now

I have a thing for writing prompts. When I was in elementary school, my favorite part of English class was when a teacher would assign a writing prompt and let each student totally customize their homework. I always preferred that type of assignment over practicing grammar drills ;).

Sometimes I browse Pinterest or the internet for writing prompts when I journal, and I thought it would be fun to share one on the blog and ask for your answers, too! So without further ado, here’s the prompt!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up, and how has that changed over time?

Found a picture of me in elementary school... eating a cookie, I think? The best part of the picture is Hannah in the background casually eating a microphone.
A picture of me in elementary school… eating a cookie, I think? The best part of the picture is Hannah casually eating a microphone in the background.

As a child, I can remember wanting to be three things: a veterinarian, author, and marine biologist.

I loved all things animals, especially dogs. I had about two million stuffed animals and Beanie Babies, and I knew all of their names. One of my favorite books that I made my poor mom read me each night was about naked mole rats. Last year, I found a notebook that I began writing a book in. I was probably in second grade when I wrote it. I titled the story “The Land of the Animals” and it was about a girl who went to live in a village-type place that was filled with animals and she was the town’s veterinarian. She owned a dog, bird, and lizard. I can still remember writing that story, and wanting the main character to be me. I was enchanted with the idea of creating my own world on paper and stepping into it with my imagination.

Looking back, it’s kind of cool to see that I connected my love of animals with writing at a young age. As I grew up, I became interested in marine life. I adored (and still do) learning about whales and sharks. Whales are simply amazing, and unfathomable to me. I think that’s why today, I geek out over Shark Week on Discovery Channel and reference the documentary Blackfish in random conversations at least once a week, haha.

A pre-teen me spending time by the ocean in Virginia.

A pre-teen me spending time by the ocean in Virginia.

The marine biologist dreams stuck with me until my junior year of high school. I actually started to look into going to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington because I read that they had a great marine biology program. I don’t know what discouraged me from actually pursuing that dream (maybe all of the science classes?), but I’m okay with it.

Over time, the central themes of my interest in writing and animals haven’t changed much. I still adore writing, and earned my Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Penn State. The first article I wrote for the school’s newspaper was about whether or not pit bulls were inherently dangerous because of their breed. Today, I do some freelance writing, and have a lot of fun with my blog. For me, writing is about sharing and connecting. Whether it’s ideas, memories, or dreams, writing is the best way I process life.

I also pet sit, which is basically one of my dream jobs. I know people might not think that being a pet sitter is a lofty aspiration, but it makes me happy, so I’m going with it. Over time, I’ve also been interested in other topics like midwifery, baking, deaf culture, health, and photography, but haven’t pursued any of them as a career (yet..?).

I think what I’ve learned from this writing prompt is that my younger self knew what she wanted and was interested in at a pretty young age. It’s amazing to think that God gives each person different passions, talents, and abilities and it’s up to us to use (and enjoy!) them for His work. Now, I’d like to know what your answer to the prompt!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up and how has that changed over time?

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17 comments

  1. So sweet! You have always loved animals and writing, even if you didn’t realize it about the writing until later. 🙂

    I don’t remember what I wanted to be when I was a kid….maybe a teacher because that’s what my mom was? The first career goal I specifically remember was newsanchor from when I was in 7th grade through my first year of college. So that one lasted awhile!

    1. Thank you, Amy! You’re exactly right about the writing, too.

      I think it’s sweet that you (possibly) wanted to be a teacher when you were younger because your mom was! My mom was pretty much a stay at home mama (with some random jobs interspersed throughout the years based on how we were doing financially, haha), and I know if/when I have kids, I would love to do the same. It’s pretty neat how family impacts us in that way :).

      Did you ever get a chance to do any anchoring in high school/college?! Or anything like it?!

  2. When I was a child I wanted to be a teacher or a farmer. The problem when I grew up was that I loved the idea of a farm, but realized the hours really sucked. Now I still have no idea what I want to do, but every year I get closer to narrowing my dreams out. I’m not worried about it at all 🙂

    1. You’re so right about the farmer hours, it’s crazy! It’s definitely a way of life. What age/subject did you want to teach?! I’m so glad you’re happy with where God has you in life right now, and that you’re not worried about the future and how it will pan out. That is true peace!

      1. I always imagined myself with kindergarten. I liked the whole concept of teaching ABCs and numbers. I also imagined 1st grade because I learned to read that year and from then on my mind EXPLODED!

  3. I always wanted to be a teacher growing up. I’m very glad I’m not a teacher now. For a long time I also wanted to be a writer, as in novels and stuff. Ironically, in high school I wrote this “where I want to be in 10 years” paper and I mentioned wanting to be an editor at a newspaper here in Charleston, which is ironic because I am a writer and I live here but no newspapers (another industry like teaching, I’m glad I’m not in it).

    I feel like kids should be encouraged to do what they want and not pushed into a career. I was really pushed toward the medical field, mostly by teachers who said I couldn’t write. I’m so glad I made the decision for myself in college and decided to pursue writing. Even if I didn’t write as a career, it is a part of who I am and how I think. I can change jobs, but I’ll always think and see the world like a writer. It’s me.

    1. How cool that you wanted to be a teacher and an editor! What age/subject did you want to teach? It’s amazing that your writing dreams stuck with you, just in a different (and likely better) way! It’s a shame about how hard it is to find a teaching job, and how newspapers have declined due to the internet. I think working for a newspaper or magazine would be pretty amazing, too.

      I agree with you about encouraging kids. They usually do know what they want and what they’re good at. I feel like adults don’t trust kids instincts enough, if that makes sense? I think a lot of adults/adult figures think they always know what is best for a child, when they might be way off.

      I’m glad you made your career decision by yourself. You are absolutely amazing at writing, and I do see it as part of your personality!

  4. When I was a child, I wanted to be a veterinarian/author too! 🙂 I loved animals (and still do!) and writing. I wrote a book called “The Iceberg of Wishes” when I was about eight years old: about a family who got stranded on an iceberg with talking penguins, and the iceberg could grant you one wish once a year. Pretty random, haha!

    The photo of you in elementary school is adorable!

    1. How neat that we both had the same childhood career aspirations and dreams! I love your book idea… that is so, so cute! And thanks for the compliment on my elementary school picture, LOL. That was before my hair turned crazy curly!

  5. The throwback photo are great! I also heard the things you enjoy as child are not your coincidences – they are your calling. I think you combined all three into your life! 🙂

  6. I love hearing how all the things you love are still things you care about! I can’t say enough good things about people who love our mutt. I’m sure the families you petsit for adore you! Also, in those throw back photos, you were super adorable!

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