ChitChat: What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an actress when I grew up. It wasn’t really a fleeting dream. I studied acting and voice fairly extensively throughout high school and even began college as a theater major. While I loved acting (and singing, which I wasn’t as good at), I wasn’t thrilled with my courses and felt like I might be wasting a LOT of undergrad money on something I figured you don’t really need a degree for. So, sort of on a whim, I decided to switch my major to broadcast journalism and I fell in love.

I wasn’t one of those kids who grew up studying the evening news. It makes me laugh when I look back and realize how little I knew the day I walked into Journalism 101. But, I realized quickly that journalism was something I really enjoyed and even though the field is competitive, I thought I had a shot at a career. That first class eventually led to television reporting jobs in North Carolina and Upstate New York and now producing an Internet radio show in the Philadelphia area.

I pretty much left acting behind when I switched my major ten years ago. I’m glad I didn’t pursue it as a career (the field of journalism is competitive enough). I do hope that one of these days I’ll get my act together and dive into community theater or something similar.


I really loved the ChitChat Panel’s answers to this month’s question: When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up? Enjoy!


Chelley panel

Chelley: When I was a child, I wanted to be a stewardess. No, not being passe, when I was a kid, they were still called stewardesses. Now, a flight attendant. Being a mother of two kids and having a career that allows me to work from home, I am glad this was not the path I took.

Years ago, I envisioned myself with matching luggage, a beautiful bun tucked just under my cap, a pencil skirt with a matching jacket, handing out pins with wings to children and assisting others stow their luggage. My dream began on a coast-to-coast flight to California with my family on Continental Airlines… I still have a bracelet from the flight! It was a business trip my parents took my sister and me on so we could go to Disney! A few years after this dream, 9/11 changed the friendly skies. Part of my childhood, the innocence and dream to travel, became something associated with fear.

Now that I’m all grown up, or whatever being that means, I have 2 beautiful children with daily itineraries of their own, and deadlines for work that I must schedule and adhere to, sometimes driving so fast to each event you would think I was a pilot, all while serving food, stowing all bags and doing it with a smile. I balance work and home life, including travel where we can, always remembering the little girl inside, that just wanted to serve the people in the sky. (Read Chelley’s blog at


Aubrey: In my 6th grade yearbook, I said that I either wanted to be a switch-pitcher for the Yankees or a criminal defense attorney. Although I still root for the Yanks, I’ve never pitched a game in my life, not even in little league. Likewise, I’ve never defended someone charged with a crime. However, that line of work is much closer to what I hope to be doing someday very soon, as I am a student in my final year of a law/psychology program (JD/PsyD).

Looking back, I think I would have enjoyed pitching for the Yankees. I would have had several World Series rings by now, and instead of starting a new career at 40 (I used to be an actor/restaurant worker), I would be retiring into bags full of money. On the other hand, I think that the Yankees know that they were better off without me. Plus, it’s nice to have arms that work.


Hartley: When I was really little, I wanted to do something with animals — be a veterinarian, live on a farm, something. I specifically recall envisioning myself driving around the country with a bunch of dogs in a jeep as an adult. So — if that’s an actual career out there, please let me know.

But as I got a bit older, I started to get really into the concept of politics and government. I say “concept” because I think my interest mostly spawned from watching re-runs of Spin City — that Michael J. Fox show where he plays witty deputy mayor Mike Flaherty and mostly runs around fictionalized New York City, fixing the problems created by the inept mayor. So in high school, I got an internship with the only government agency taking interns: the local city planning office. I quickly realized planning was a better fit for me than other levels of government. Planners work to make improvements in so many different aspects of government — we’re sort of a jack of all trades position, and I like that. (Plus, we’re not elected, and I like that, too.) And so I went to school for urban and regional planning, and here I am now, a county planner for the county I grew up in.

I love what I do. But occasionally, I do take my dogs out for a drive around the countryside in my car. That’s a pretty cool thing to do, too.


Nancy: While growing up, I thought that my only choices of a career were to be a nurse or a teacher.  My sisters were nurses, but I don’t like blood so nursing really wasn’t an option. That left teaching. I had a very special, kind speech therapist when I was very young and I wanted to be like her. I didn’t want to be a speech therapist because I still lacked confidence in my speech, but I wanted to help the kids who were struggling to succeed. That led me to the field of Special Education. I also loved math and considered either being an accountant or a math teacher, but I can be easily bored and decided these jobs could become boring over time. I eventually ended up teaching math to at-risk teens, a great combination of my interests and  definitely not boring! In retrospect, I should have chosen speech therapist or accountant–both are much more lucrative!

catherine 2

Catherine: When I was very young, I wanted to be a ‘Circus Star’. I went to the circus when I was like 3 or 4 and it had a big impact on me. I wanted to be a trapeze artist, with a costume made of sequins (I had a very specific image of the costume).

I now work for the government and sit at a desk all day. The job does not include flying through the air. Or sequins!

I still think it would be amazing to be a trapeze artist. I was re-inspired the other day after booking tickets for  Cirque du Soleil, and looked into beginner acrobatic classes in Ottawa (where I live). I found a beginner aerial silk and hoops, which is close enough!


So tell me, what did you want to be when you grew up? How does it compare to what you do now?

Image: Paul Inkles



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